History of Modern Cement

The investigations of L.J. Vicat led him to prepare an artificial hydraulic lime by calcining an intimate mixture of limestone and clay. This process may be regarded as the leading knowledge to the manufacture of Portland

cement. James Frost alsopatented a cement of this kind in 1811 and established a

factory in London district.


The story of the invention of Portland cement is, however, attributed to Joseph Aspdin, a Leeds builder and bricklayer, even though similar procedures had been adopted by other inventors. Joseph Aspdin took the patent of portland cement on 21st October 1824. The fancy name of portland was given owing to the resemblance of this hardened cement to the natural stone occurring at Portland in England. In his process Aspdin mixed and ground hard limestones and

finely divided clay into the form of slurry and calcined it in a furnace similar to a lime kiln till the CO2 was expelled. The mixture so calcined was then ground to a fine powder. Perhaps, a temperature lower than the clinkering temperature was used by Aspdin. Later in 1845 Isaac Charles Johnson burnt a mixture of clay and

chalk till the clinkering stage to make better cement and established factories in 1851. In the early period, cement was used for making mortar only. Later the use of cement was extended for making concrete. As the use of Portland cement was increased for making concrete, engineers called for consistently higher

standard material for use in major works. Association of Engineers, Consumers and Cement Manufacturers have been established to specify standards for cement. The German standard specification for Portland cement was drawn in

1877. The British standard specification was first drawn up in 1904. The first ASTM specification was issued in 1904.


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