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By Donald H. Campbell

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The preparation technique is far less time-consuming than that for a normal thin section, the latter requiring a planar cross section of both the upper and lower portions Microscopical Examination and Interpretation of Portland Cement and Clinker 4. 5. 6. of most of the particles. The half section provides virtually the same information. After extraction of the clinker matrix phases with a KOH-sugar solution, for example, alite and belite microstructure can be examined with both transmitted and reflected light (sometimes simultaneously) on a grain-by-grain basis in a polished half section.

By using a multichambered container, selected size fractions of the clinker, cement, and raw feed can be combined in a single encapsulation. The procedure for making thin sections, requiring a worktime of approximately 15 to 30 minutes, is as follows: 1. The previously ground (or polished) surface of the encapsulation is mounted on a cleaned, labeled, petrographic slide (standard size, 46x24 mm) with a small amount of epoxy. The writer has found that by smearing and striking off a few successive droplets of epoxy with the glass microscope slide, the epoxy fills virtually all the voids on the section surface and thereby promotes a firm bond.

Gently coarse polish the mount on Texmet™ (a low-nap chemotextile polishing cloth) with 6µm diamond for approximately four minutes. 7. 25-µm diamond, or a mixture of the two) for roughly four minutes. Examine the section microscopically and repolish if grinding pits are observed. 8. Clean the polished section with a forceful isopropyl alcohol spray and dry with forced warm air (an electric hair dryer). Propylene glycol is used as the grinding and polishing liquid in all steps. Recent tests by the writer, upon the suggestion of Paul Lehoux (Lafarge) and Wase Ahmed (Buehler), indicate the superior quali- BASIC STEPS FOR RAPID POLISHED SECTION PREPARATION The procedure described here is an outline of recommended steps, not to be taken as unalterable, in the production of polished sections of whole clinkers or a sieved fraction of crushed clinkers.

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