Elucidating the Size and Shape of Individual Clinker Phases via Raman Imaging: Impact on Cement Hydration

Krishna C. Polavaram, Nishant Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Portland cement, produced at 4 billion tons/year, is a key ingredient of concrete─the world’s most consumed material after water. The hydration and hardening of cement upon reaction with water are greatly influenced by cement’s chemical composition as well as its overall particle size distribution (PSD). However, given that anhydrous cements are a composite mixture of 8-12 chemically unique phases, the physical characteristics (size and shape) of these individual phases have not been fully explored in the literature. Here, by utilizing Raman imaging, we report, for the first time, phase-specific PSDs and shape characteristics for all individual components in a set of 10 commercially available diverse cements. By combining these physical characteristics with chemical abundance, we define a composition-size quotient parameter (CSQ), which is able to predict the 72 h cumulative heat upon hydration (R2 = 0.86)─a key indicator of performance, underscoring the importance of such phase-specific physical characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17157-17170
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 31 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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