Cement ingredients, Was: cement travel


gettheredesigns <rick@...>
 

Hi all, this cement discussion is fascinating. I can add some background about the process that will help explain the rail traffic. I welcome any corrections or additions.

The Universal Atlas cement plant in Duluth was the only cement plant in MN, AFAIK. Their primary raw material was slag from the adjacent steel plant. Marl was brought in by lake boat from (?), unloaded at the limestone dock adjacent to the ore docks, and railed across town to the plant in Morgan Park. When the steel plant shut down in the 70's, the cement plant lost its main input, and shut down as well.

The necessary chemical ingredients in cement are lime (calcium oxide), silica (silicon dioxide), alumina (aluminum oxide), iron oxide, and gypsum (calcium sulfate). These compounds can be sourced from a wide variety of materials. Cement plants are ideally located at a place with all the ingredients nearby, but anything not available locally could be brought in from elsewhere.

"Cement rock" is an impure limestone that contains nearly everything needed, so a big deposit, like the one near Mason City, is optimal. Pure limestone is calcium carbonate, which yields lime when roasted. Clay is a common source of alumina and silica. Pure quartz sand is silica. All the above materials often contain some iron oxide. Iron ores are another source of the iron oxide, which acts as a flux. Gypsum is mined as, well, gypsum. The CGW served small-scale iron mines in Fillmore Cty, MN, and ore from that area was railed to Mason City for use in the cement plants. Ore from the Upper Peninsula (MI) was shipped to cement plants in Lower MI. The blast furnace slag used at the Duluth plant contained lime, silica, and iron oxide, with the recipe completed with the marl, which was a preroasted product made with the proper proportions to complement the slag. (I don't know where the marl was produced--probably Lower Michigan?)

White cement is a special product that requires extra-pure ingredients, and is only made in certain places, so it is shipped longer distances.

Cheers, Rick Aylsworth

--- In STMFC@..., "Douglas Harding" <doug.harding@...> wrote:

I have heard the Mason City IA plants supplied much of the cement used in
the Twin Cities. It appears most cement production in Minn occurred in the
Duluth area, using limestone imported from Michigan. Cement production is
dependent upon adequate limestone supplies, usually very close at hand, as
costs for transporting limestone outweighs it's value.

In Iowa, cement production is prominent in Mason City (2 plants) Des Moines
(was 2 plants, now one which gets material from Kansas) and Buffalo, just
south of Davenport. Each area had large deposits of limestone suitable for
making cement, that was easy to mine. There are many limestone quarries in
Iowa, but most are smaller and only produce gravel.

Here's a site of interest to railfans and modelers.
http://www.carrtracks.com/cement.htm

Doug Harding
www.iowacentralrr.org


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Rick Aylsworth wrote:
The Universal Atlas cement plant in Duluth was the only cement plant in MN, AFAIK. Their primary raw material was slag from the adjacent steel plant. Marl was brought in by lake boat from (?), unloaded at the limestone dock adjacent to the ore docks, and railed across town to the plant in Morgan Park. When the steel plant shut down in the 70's, the cement plant lost its main input, and shut down as well.
This product is called "blastfurnace cement" and is cheaper than regular cement. It is resistant to some sulfate-containing environments but had disadvantages relative to conventional Portland cement. Marl originates as a limestone-like deposit on lake or sea floors and can solidify into a rocky mineral.

The necessary chemical ingredients in cement are lime (calcium oxide), silica (silicon dioxide), alumina (aluminum oxide), iron oxide, and gypsum (calcium sulfate). These compounds can be sourced from a wide variety of materials. Cement plants are ideally located at a place with all the ingredients nearby, but anything not available locally could be brought in from elsewhere.
It's important to recognize that limestone and clay provide nearly the entire content of most cement. Iron is essential but present in relatively small amounts in normal cement. Calcium sulfate can come from other minerals than gypsum if gypsum is not economically available locally. As Rick says, a great many ingredients may be used in appropriate combinations.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Cyril Durrenberger
 

Also one needs some sort of fuel to make the clinker.  Coal is often used, but some places, especially in Texas have used natural gas.  Recently some cement plants have used some hazardous (not toxic) waste products as part of the fuel.  This is a good way to get rid of the waste.  I think there was a plant in Texas that also used shredded tires as part of their fuel.

Cyril Durrenberger

--- On Fri, 11/19/10, Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

From: Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Cement ingredients, Was: cement travel
To: STMFC@...
Date: Friday, November 19, 2010, 4:50 PM







 









Rick Aylsworth wrote:

The Universal Atlas cement plant in Duluth was the only cement plant
in MN, AFAIK. Their primary raw material was slag from the adjacent
steel plant. Marl was brought in by lake boat from (?), unloaded at
the limestone dock adjacent to the ore docks, and railed across town
to the plant in Morgan Park. When the steel plant shut down in the
70's, the cement plant lost its main input, and shut down as well.


This product is called "blastfurnace cement" and is cheaper

than regular cement. It is resistant to some sulfate-containing

environments but had disadvantages relative to conventional Portland

cement. Marl originates as a limestone-like deposit on lake or sea

floors and can solidify into a rocky mineral.



The necessary chemical ingredients in cement are lime (calcium
oxide), silica (silicon dioxide), alumina (aluminum oxide), iron
oxide, and gypsum (calcium sulfate). These compounds can be sourced
from a wide variety of materials. Cement plants are ideally located
at a place with all the ingredients nearby, but anything not
available locally could be brought in from elsewhere.


It's important to recognize that limestone and clay provide

nearly the entire content of most cement. Iron is essential but

present in relatively small amounts in normal cement. Calcium sulfate

can come from other minerals than gypsum if gypsum is not economically

available locally. As Rick says, a great many ingredients may be used

in appropriate combinations.



Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com

(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...

Publishers of books on railroad history






















[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Larry Sexton
 

In the mid-90s, I understand that Safety-Kleen was one of the companies that burned some of their liquid hazardous waste in cement production from their oil and chemical recycling business. I believe the waste was burned at a cement plant at Holly Hill, SC and one in Missouri. May still do so.



Larry Sexton



From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Cyril and Lynn Durrenberger
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 8:20 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Cement ingredients, Was: cement travel





Also one needs some sort of fuel to make the clinker. Coal is often used, but some places, especially in Texas have used natural gas. Recently some cement plants have used some hazardous (not toxic) waste products as part of the fuel. This is a good way to get rid of the waste. I think there was a plant in Texas that also used shredded tires as part of their fuel.

Cyril Durrenberger

--- On Fri, 11/19/10, Anthony Thompson <thompson@... <mailto:thompson%40signaturepress.com> > wrote:

From: Anthony Thompson <thompson@... <mailto:thompson%40signaturepress.com> >
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Cement ingredients, Was: cement travel
To: STMFC@... <mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com>
Date: Friday, November 19, 2010, 4:50 PM



Rick Aylsworth wrote:

The Universal Atlas cement plant in Duluth was the only cement plant
in MN, AFAIK. Their primary raw material was slag from the adjacent
steel plant. Marl was brought in by lake boat from (?), unloaded at
the limestone dock adjacent to the ore docks, and railed across town
to the plant in Morgan Park. When the steel plant shut down in the
70's, the cement plant lost its main input, and shut down as well.
This product is called "blastfurnace cement" and is cheaper

than regular cement. It is resistant to some sulfate-containing

environments but had disadvantages relative to conventional Portland

cement. Marl originates as a limestone-like deposit on lake or sea

floors and can solidify into a rocky mineral.

The necessary chemical ingredients in cement are lime (calcium
oxide), silica (silicon dioxide), alumina (aluminum oxide), iron
oxide, and gypsum (calcium sulfate). These compounds can be sourced
from a wide variety of materials. Cement plants are ideally located
at a place with all the ingredients nearby, but anything not
available locally could be brought in from elsewhere.
It's important to recognize that limestone and clay provide

nearly the entire content of most cement. Iron is essential but

present in relatively small amounts in normal cement. Calcium sulfate

can come from other minerals than gypsum if gypsum is not economically

available locally. As Rick says, a great many ingredients may be used

in appropriate combinations.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com

(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@... <mailto:thompson%40signaturepress.com>

Publishers of books on railroad history

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


mike brock <brockm@...>
 

Getting back to cement travel...and actually, the travel of relatively heavy and cheap non finished materials such as cement, cement ingredients, coal, sand, ballast etc., I am curious about the transportation of both the ingredients and the final product. I understand the advantages of locating near major ingredients. The steel industry, for example, didn't choose Key West or Kansas as a site for a major plant...although one might, I guess, argue that both ingredients and final product would travel by water if Key West were chosen...the cheapest form of transportation if speed was not essential. Anyhow, back to Big Wyoming [ as the sign says when you cross from CO to WY ], back in our time UP was moving significant amounts of soda ash from Westvaco to Council Bluffs and KC. That is 835 miles to Council Bluffs and one assumes it did not stop there. Note that one of the trains in the 1956 UP frt conductor's book consists of about 50 cars loaded with ballast traveling from Buford, WY, to Petersen, UT....439 miles. Moving that much weight that far seems a bit expensive. So, just how far could stuff like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the product?

Incidentally, we are considering a "clinic session" during Prototype Rails in Cocoa Beach regarding the coal industry to specifically include coal traffic.

Mike Brock


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

mike brock wrote:
So, just how far could stuff like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the product?
If (and I say IF) it was essential, and available nowhere else, the travel cost could not exceed the value of the product.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Cyril Durrenberger
 

Mike,

In Texas we burn a lot of Powder River Basin coal to generate power.  It is my understanding that the largest part of the cost is transportation, but I do not have any hard figures at hand.  The main reason for using that coal is the low sulfur content so the stacks do not need to have scrubbers to remove the SO2.  That would also require that limestone be shipped into the plant.  Limestone for scrubbers is shipped by rail to some plants that burn locally mined lignite that now have to remove SO2 from their flue gas..

But all of this is way out of the time period for this list and these environmental control all came long after the end date for the list.

Cyril Durrenberger

--- On Fri, 11/19/10, mike brock <brockm@...> wrote:

From: mike brock <brockm@...>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Cement ingredients, Was: cement travel
To: STMFC@...
Date: Friday, November 19, 2010, 9:00 PM







 









Getting back to cement travel...and actually, the travel of relatively heavy

and cheap non finished materials such as cement, cement ingredients, coal,

sand, ballast etc., I am curious about the transportation of both the

ingredients and the final product. I understand the advantages of locating

near major ingredients. The steel industry, for example, didn't choose Key

West or Kansas as a site for a major plant...although one might, I guess,

argue that both ingredients and final product would travel by water if Key

West were chosen...the cheapest form of transportation if speed was not

essential. Anyhow, back to Big Wyoming [ as the sign says when you cross

from CO to WY ], back in our time UP was moving significant amounts of soda

ash from Westvaco to Council Bluffs and KC. That is 835 miles to Council

Bluffs and one assumes it did not stop there. Note that one of the trains in

the 1956 UP frt conductor's book consists of about 50 cars loaded with

ballast traveling from Buford, WY, to Petersen, UT....439 miles. Moving that

much weight that far seems a bit expensive. So, just how far could stuff

like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the

product?



Incidentally, we are considering a "clinic session" during Prototype Rails

in Cocoa Beach regarding the coal industry to specifically include coal

traffic.



Mike Brock






















[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


gettheredesigns <rick@...>
 

Hi Mike,

I can't speak directly to the soda ash question, but some commodities have no substitute. If, say, certain ore deposits exist at only one place, the commodity will be shipped anywhere on the earth, and the consumer will pay whatever it costs. Phosphate rock from Florida is exported all over the world, because of the low cost of production, vast deposits, and proximity to cheap water transportation. Many countries have no domestic phosphate sources, and it is vital to agriculture.

Iron ore is mined all over the world, and very little is exported from the US. We import quite a bit, mostly to steel mills near the coasts. But a few years ago, Minnesota iron ore was shipped all the way to China. Global demand (and hence the price) was so high, the Chinese couldn't buy enough from mines closer to home. The material was leftover broken pellets and fines of concentrated taconite from the defunct LTV pellet plant at Hoyt Lakes, MN, and it went by rail to British Columbia to be transferred to vessels for the trip across the Pacific. US steel plants with higher production costs prefer whole pellets, because they need no further processing (like sintering), and maximize productivity in the blast furnace.

Most railroads are picky about their ballast rock--the CNW shipped Pink Lady quartzite from Rock Springs, WI to most of their system because it was abundant, efficiently produced because of the high volume, and was premium quality rock for mainline ballast. And CNW served the quarry directly, so they didn't have to pay freight to anybody else.

Western low-sulfur coal replaced a lot of high-sulfur Eastern coal at Midwestern power plants because of the requirement to meet air-pollution regulations. But now in some cases the high cost of diesel fuel (and thus transportation) is making it more economical to retrofit the power plants with scrubbers and burn high-sulfur coal that is mined closer to the plants.

Sorry if I'm roaming toward Off Topic Land, but these examples demonstrate that markets are complex, and at times seem irrational, but in the end, businesses tend to do what is most economical. My take-home point is that there is probably not a simple answer to your question, but there's usually a good reason when commodities are shipped long distances.

Cheers, Rick Aylsworth

--- In STMFC@..., "mike brock" <brockm@...> wrote:

Getting back to cement travel...and actually, the travel of relatively heavy
and cheap non finished materials such as cement, cement ingredients, coal,
sand, ballast etc., I am curious about the transportation of both the
ingredients and the final product. I understand the advantages of locating
near major ingredients. The steel industry, for example, didn't choose Key
West or Kansas as a site for a major plant...although one might, I guess,
argue that both ingredients and final product would travel by water if Key
West were chosen...the cheapest form of transportation if speed was not
essential. Anyhow, back to Big Wyoming [ as the sign says when you cross
from CO to WY ], back in our time UP was moving significant amounts of soda
ash from Westvaco to Council Bluffs and KC. That is 835 miles to Council
Bluffs and one assumes it did not stop there. Note that one of the trains in
the 1956 UP frt conductor's book consists of about 50 cars loaded with
ballast traveling from Buford, WY, to Petersen, UT....439 miles. Moving that
much weight that far seems a bit expensive. So, just how far could stuff
like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the
product?

Incidentally, we are considering a "clinic session" during Prototype Rails
in Cocoa Beach regarding the coal industry to specifically include coal
traffic.

Mike Brock


gettheredesigns <rick@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

It's important to recognize that limestone and clay provide
nearly the entire content of most cement. Iron is essential but
present in relatively small amounts in normal cement. Calcium sulfate
can come from other minerals than gypsum if gypsum is not economically
available locally.
Good point Tony--the cement plants aren't next to the iron mines.

The following data is from the 1949 Minerals Yearbook published by the Bureau of Mines. This is a list of all materials used in cement manufacture in that year, in short tons.

Cement rock (argillaceous limestone) 12,628,494
Limestone and oyster shells 44,968,739
Marl 722,606
Clay and shale 6,698,408
Blast-furnace slag 847,375
Gypsum 1,543,198
Sand and sandstone 724,624
Iron-bearing materials 346,542
Other materials, including diatomite,
flue dust, coal-tar pitch, red mud and rock,
hydrated lime, tufa, cinders, calcium
chloride, sludge, grinding aids, and
air-entraining compounds 140,999

Total 68,620,985

Cheers, Rick


Kurt Laughlin <fleeta@...>
 

I think you'd have to consider also that out west a "PRR average" trip of 300 miles (or whatever) would often put the train in the middle of nowhere. Because everything is so spread out transit distances have to be much larger because the "points of interest" (production centers, manufacturing centers, population centers) are themselves that much farther apart.

KL

----- Original Message -----
From: mike brock

Getting back to cement travel...and actually, the travel of relatively heavy
and cheap non finished materials such as cement, cement ingredients, coal,
sand, ballast etc., I am curious about the transportation of both the
ingredients and the final product. I understand the advantages of locating
near major ingredients. The steel industry, for example, didn't choose Key
West or Kansas as a site for a major plant...although one might, I guess,
argue that both ingredients and final product would travel by water if Key
West were chosen...the cheapest form of transportation if speed was not
essential. Anyhow, back to Big Wyoming [ as the sign says when you cross
from CO to WY ], back in our time UP was moving significant amounts of soda
ash from Westvaco to Council Bluffs and KC. That is 835 miles to Council
Bluffs and one assumes it did not stop there. Note that one of the trains in
the 1956 UP frt conductor's book consists of about 50 cars loaded with
ballast traveling from Buford, WY, to Petersen, UT....439 miles. Moving that
much weight that far seems a bit expensive. So, just how far could stuff
like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the
product?

Incidentally, we are considering a "clinic session" during Prototype Rails
in Cocoa Beach regarding the coal industry to specifically include coal
traffic.

Mike Brock


Aley, Jeff A
 

Mike,

Should a factory be located near the raw materials, near the customers, or near a source of transportation?

In the case of cement, the plant tended to be near the raw materials.
In the case of soda ash, the plant tended to be near the customers.
In the case of beef, the plant tended to be near the transportation (but the "branch houses" were near the customers).

Regards,

-Jeff


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of mike brock
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 9:00 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Cement ingredients, Was: cement travel



Getting back to cement travel...and actually, the travel of relatively heavy
and cheap non finished materials such as cement, cement ingredients, coal,
sand, ballast etc., I am curious about the transportation of both the
ingredients and the final product. I understand the advantages of locating
near major ingredients. The steel industry, for example, didn't choose Key
West or Kansas as a site for a major plant...although one might, I guess,
argue that both ingredients and final product would travel by water if Key
West were chosen...the cheapest form of transportation if speed was not
essential. Anyhow, back to Big Wyoming [ as the sign says when you cross
from CO to WY ], back in our time UP was moving significant amounts of soda
ash from Westvaco to Council Bluffs and KC. That is 835 miles to Council
Bluffs and one assumes it did not stop there. Note that one of the trains in
the 1956 UP frt conductor's book consists of about 50 cars loaded with
ballast traveling from Buford, WY, to Petersen, UT....439 miles. Moving that
much weight that far seems a bit expensive. So, just how far could stuff
like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the
product?

Incidentally, we are considering a "clinic session" during Prototype Rails
in Cocoa Beach regarding the coal industry to specifically include coal
traffic.

Mike Brock


james murrie
 

Jeff;
Many moons ago when I was getting my MBA degree the rule of thumb was that you wanted to "long haul" the raw materials (low value goods) and "short haul" the finished product (i.e. high value goods). I don't remember all the reasoning anymore, but I'm sure at least one reason had to do with the way freight tariffs were set back then.
Jim Murrie

--- In STMFC@..., "Aley, Jeff A" <Jeff.A.Aley@...> wrote:

Mike,

Should a factory be located near the raw materials, near the customers, or near a source of transportation?

In the case of cement, the plant tended to be near the raw materials.
In the case of soda ash, the plant tended to be near the customers.
In the case of beef, the plant tended to be near the transportation (but the "branch houses" were near the customers).

Regards,

-Jeff


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Jim Murrie1 wrote:
Many moons ago when I was getting my MBA degree the rule of thumb was that you wanted to "long haul" the raw materials (low value goods) and "short haul" the finished product (i.e. high value goods). I don't remember all the reasoning anymore, but I'm sure at least one reason had to do with the way freight tariffs were set back then.
This rule of thumb only works, of course, if there is a big difference in the two values. For cement, and for other building materials like brick and block, the difference isn't big (and the raw materials are found all over). Obviously for, say, washing machines, it's a different story.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Tim O'Connor
 

Anyone know the proportions of COAL burned to make cement?

Tim O'Connor

The following data is from the 1949 Minerals Yearbook published by the
Bureau of Mines. This is a list of all materials used in cement manufacture
in that year, in short tons.

Cement rock (argillaceous limestone) 12,628,494
Limestone and oyster shells 44,968,739
Marl 722,606
Clay and shale 6,698,408
Blast-furnace slag 847,375
Gypsum 1,543,198
Sand and sandstone 724,624
Iron-bearing materials 346,542
Other materials, including diatomite,
flue dust, coal-tar pitch, red mud and rock,
hydrated lime, tufa, cinders, calcium
chloride, sludge, grinding aids, and
air-entraining compounds 140,999

Total 68,620,985

Cheers, Rick


Clark Propst
 

Depends greatly on the size and type of kiln. I'll guess 10 - 30% coal to clinker?

Clark Propst

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


Anyone know the proportions of COAL burned to make cement?

Tim O'Connor