20080923

Flavors of cement


The limestone and chunks of clay that are extracted from the quarry seen in the previous two posts are transported to the cement factory in Würenlingen via a 3.8 km (2.4 mile) long conveyor belt (part of which can be seen in this old post) that crosses over Villigen and the river Aare.

There, they are ground into a fine powder and together with some additives such as iron pyrite and bauxite the powder is shoved into a rotary furnace (1450 °C) where it is converted to cement clinker (Wiki). The first time I heard that word it was spoken by an Australian and I will forever carry that sound in my head.

The clinker is cooled in a heat exchanger (and the energy is actually used to heat the plant and about 100 households in the neighborhood) and then ground together with gypsum to form cement.

About 90% of the output of this plant is transported to building sites in cement trucks such as the one seen in the silo tower in the photo. The names on the labels, Normo, Fluvio and Fortico are that of different mixes of cement that Holcim produces.

20080920

6 comments:

tr3nta said...

Isn't it beautiful swiss concrete!?!?!?

Kris said...

I like chocolate concrete myself. ;)

Tash said...

you have a knack for making run-of-the-mill things interesting! very nice.

claude said...

Very interesting, Z !

Julie said...

Can't imagine why Kris let the Aussie accent jibe go through to the keeper!! Slow, flat and nasal .. "clinker".

If I understand your post correctly, the vast majority of the cement mined here is formed into concrete that is used in the local area - yes? In a way that is good, but it does not bring wealth into the area.

Z said...

tr2nta: Um...

Kris: I did see some earth-toned cement samples there, I did!

Tash: Now that's such a nice thing to say. Thanks!

Claude: Glad you liked it.

Julie: I'm sorry you took that as a jibe, certainly wasn't meant in that way. And I didn't explain well. The cement from this plant is transported to a wide area in this part of Switzerland.