Online Learning Experience

Imagine an online classroom that takes you to learn at your own pace, allowing more choices with your learning opportunities. The Cement Institute is dedicated to providing the most dynamic and engaging programs available, as our enhanced online experience demonstrates an interactive and hands-on knowledge applicable directly to your plant. 


Next Start Date: April 8, 2024



This Course is scheduled to be available on the following date(s):


A 4-week modular course designed to give the course attendee a solid understanding of the cement chemistry and clinker microscopy.

Cement microscopy is a valuable technique for examining clinker, cement, raw materials, raw feed, and coal. Every stage of the cement manufacturing process can be improved through the use of a microscope.

Most cement microscopy is done using a petrographic microscope. Usually, the specimen is a polished section of cement clinker examined using reflected light, although it may be a powder mount, or a thin section examined using transmitted light.

A scanning electron microscope (SEM) may also be used. The combination of SEM with X-ray microanalysis (=EDX, EDS, EDAX) is compelling as it enables the analysis of individual crystals or particles.

Important characteristics the microscopic examines include:

  • Overall nodule microstructure – dense, porous, dense micronodules interconnected by tenuous ‘bridges.’ This gives a broad relative indication of burning conditions.
  • Alite crystal size – coarse alite may indicate a slow heating rate, excessive burning, or coarse silica in the raw feed; silicate reactivity may be lower than it could be with improved burning conditions.
  • Belite crystal size – larger belite crystals suggest a longer time in the burning zone.
  • Aluminate and ferrite crystal size – coarse flux phases suggest slow cooling; finer, intergrown flux phases indicate faster cooling. Belite color also shows the cooling rate; fast-cooled crystals are clear, while slower cooling allows impurities to crystallize along lattice planes imparting a yellow color.
  • Large clusters of belite or free lime – these may indicate coarse particles in the raw feed.
  • The overall distribution of silicates – ideally, belite crystals will be dispersed evenly throughout each clinker nodule, either as individual crystals or in small clusters. If large clusters of belite are present, burnability is likely to be less good, and the clinker will be harder to grind.
  • Performa a walk-around inspection of the pyro and other equipment areas.
  • Observe the PH, kiln, and cooler, roll crusher, and coal mill operations.
  • Intervene the system at various locations and collect field data, if needed.
  • A baseline evaluation for the current Production and Specific Fuel Consumptions.
  • Find the gap in the operations and explore the opportunity to improve the existing processes.
  • Conduct a full-blown heat and mass balance, cooler balance, gas balance, volatile balance to benchmark the pyro process operation.
  • Analyze the data and process and recommend solutions for improved operations.
  • Collect the existing machinery and process design data.
  • Perform the process analysis of the feed and product to help with fuel substitution and energy consumption.


Learning Outcomes

An emphasis on understanding the Factors affecting the efficiency and productivity of cement kiln operations – Factors affecting clinker product quality – Factors affecting safety and emissions to the environment.

  • Introduction
  • Nature of Portland Cement
    • Brief History of Portland Cement Manufacture
    • Raw Materials and Chemical Composition of Clinker
    • The Clinker Minerals
    • Oxide Proportions in Clinker
  • Clinkering Reactions
    • Importance of clinker flux
    • Sequence of clinkering reactions
    • Influence of kiln atmosphere
  • The Control Ratios
    • Formulae
    • Lime Saturation Factor
    • Silica Ratio
    • Alumina Ratio
    • Sensitivity of LSF and C3S Content to Chemistry Variations
    • Typical Values for Control Ratios in Production Clinker
    • Use of Control Ratios to Proportion Raw Materials
  • Raw Mix Mineralogy and Homogeneity
    • Mineralogy
    • Homogeneity
  • Minor Constituents
  • Determination of Chemical and Compound Composition
    • Chemical composition
    • Compound composition
  • Special Clinkers
    • Types
    • Sulfate Resisting Clinker
    • White Cement Clinker


Who is this course for?

This seminar is designed for production managers, plant managers, general managers, and production engineers with at least one year of experience in the cement industry.

Individual responsibility is vital for reaching usable technical conclusions and presenting their results to obtain a course certificate.


Learning Path

Topic 1: A refresher of general plant safety overview

Topic 2: An emphasis on special Hazards During the Cement Production Phases


Topic 1: Cement Kiln Feed Burnability

Topic 2: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity

Topic 3: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity. Preheating and Calcination

Topic 4: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity. Sintering Reactions


Topic 1: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity. Mineralization

Topic 2: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity. Alkali Cycles

Topic 3: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity. Chloride cycles, bypasses and purges.

Topic 4: Cement kiln energy efficiency and productivity. Sulphates in the kiln.


Topic 1: The CSAF quaternary system

Topic 2: Lime Saturation

Topic 3: Bogue compound composition

Topic 4: K2O barrier, SO3, P2O5 decomposition

Topic 5: Solid solution & polymorphic crystal form

Topic 6: Combustion – oxidation and reduction

Topic 7: Soluble Alkalis


Topic 1: CO2 emissions and their reduction

Topic 2: CO and volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs)

Topic 3: Dioxins and furans

Topic 4: NOx formation and avoidance

Topic 5: SO2 emissions and their abatement

Topic 6: Heavy metals – mercury and thallium



A unique combination of theoretical and practical skills throughout this course will be learned, which will help you develop and execute the concepts and technical knowledge acquired in the plant process activities. The following downloadable materials are part of the course to enhance and facilitate the participants’ learning experiences.

Participant manual: Include the key concepts, definitions, and activities presented in this course.

Work section book: Provide learning activities and hands-on practice – case study and exercises. Solutions are included after each training is completed. Certification is achieved by completing a satisfactory level of exercises, quizzes, and final exams for each module.

The course is conducted online, allowing students flexibility (within four weeks) to complete all modules. Students should expect to spend more than 6 hours per week and some additional time for private reading/study. A computer with Internet access (broadband recommended) and email will be required.


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