Cement Kilns

Raw materials

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Materials used in the Cement Industry in Britain and Ireland

Almost any mineral can be used in a cement rawmix, provided that the bulk composition of the mixture will produce the desired calcium silicates and fluxes (see clinker), and provided that certain deleterious components are minimized. Broadly speaking, minerals containing high levels of calcium (usually the carbonate) are blended with lower-calcium minerals containing silicon, aluminium, and iron. Here follows a list of materials that have been used in cement manufacture in Britain and Ireland, arranged in order of their geological age. In addition to these, a number of industrial waste materials have been used as mix components throughout the history of the industry.


Traditional name Period Age Ma CaCO3 content
Alluvium Holocene 0-0.01 0-5%
Boulder Clay Pleistocene 0.01-1.6 5-40%
Hamstead Marl Oligocene 28-34 20-40%
Bembridge Limestone Oligocene 34-36 75-85%
London Clay Eocene 48-55 2-10%
Upper Chalk Cretaceous 70-90 92-99%
Middle Chalk Cretaceous 90-94 85-98%
Grey Chalk Cretaceous 94-97 80-92%
Chalk Marl Cretaceous 97-100 50-75%
Gault Clay Cretaceous 100-112 20-40%
Kimmeridge Clay Jurassic 151-156 2-10%
Corallian Clay Jurassic 156-160 2-10%
Cornbrash Limestone Jurassic 165 85-95%
Great Oolite Limestone Jurassic 166-168 70-90%
Great Oolite Clay Jurassic 166-168 5-45%
Inferior Oolite Limestone Jurassic 168-176 85-95%
Blue Lias Limestone Jurassic 190-200 70-85%
Blue Lias Shale/Clay Jurassic 190-200 30-50%
Rhaetic Limestone Triassic 200-205 85-95%
St Bees Shale Permian 252-260 5-15%
Anhydrite Permian 251-271 CaSO4
Coal Measures Shale Carboniferous 300-315 2-10%
Coal Measures Limestone Carboniferous 300-315 60-80%
Carboniferous Limestone Carboniferous 330-355 70-99%
Carboniferous Shale Carboniferous 318-355 5-15%
Devonian Limestone Devonian 385-398 75-95%
Ludlow Limestone Silurian 423-426 75-98%
Wenlock Limestone Silurian 427-428 75-98%
Upper Silurian Shales Silurian 419-430 1-5%

Descriptions of individual materials:

Chalk: general
Chalk: Thames Estuary
Chalk: the Medway and Swale
Chalk: Cam Valley
Middle Jurassic Limestones
The Blue Lias
Palaeozoic limestones
Irish limestones
Waste materials
Clays and Shales

Preparation of Raw Materials for Cement Manufacture:

Raw Material Preparation

Variation of Industry Capacity (annual clinker tonnes) by Raw Material Type

Capacity by Raw Material


Historic Usage

© Dylan Moore 2010: last edit 23/10/14.



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