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The use of supplementary cementitious materials as a partial replacement for Portland cement is the most effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete industry. Raw clays containing kaolinite (kaolin) are promising substitute materials. In the field, raw clays are often mixed with calcite and this is thought to affect their behaviour after calcination. This study explores the influence of calcite impurities on the mineralogy and reactivity a kaolinitic clay. A kaolin sample was blended with different quantities of calcite. The results show that during calcination calcite is decomposed, but no significant amount of free lime or amorphous calcium carbonate are formed. A granular deposit was observed that partially covers the kaolinite particles. The decomposition of calcite and formation of the deposit is associated with a reduction in specific surface area, which increases with the amount of calcite that is intermixed in the raw clay. TEM-EDS analysis showed that the deposit corresponds to a new phase formed from the interaction of kaolinite and calcite, with an Al/Si ratio ranging from 0.74 to 0.88 and Ca/Si ratio between 0.86 and 1.65. Reduction of the calcination temperature to 700 °C reduces the calcite decomposition and the negative impact on reactivity.
Zunino, F., Boehm-Courjault, E., & Scrivener, K. (2020). The impact of calcite impurities in clays containing kaolinite on their reactivity in cement after calcination. Materials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions, 53(2). https://doi.org/10.1617/s11527-020-01478-9