What Makes Clinker Special?
Simply put, it’s limestone and clay (or another alumino-silicate substance) that have been bashed into tiny bits and then super-heated so they form a lifelong bond with each other. The crumbly combo forms the main bulk of Portland Cement and is responsible for binding everything together when mixed with sand and water.
A little bit of gypsum is sometimes added to the Portland mix. And no, gypsum is not people who travel around in fancy painted trailers – it’s a soft sulfate mineral that looks like a giant diamond in its raw state. Gypsum is usually added to stop the clinker from flash setting (similar to flash floods, only in reverse). Other additives may be used instead of gypsum, depending on the cement.
Clinker can keep for months in a dry conditions. If it gets rained on, you’ll just have a job-lot of hardened concrete-type material on your hands.
When water is added, clinker initially reacts by turning into a gritty puddle, more commonly known as cement paste. If it’s left alone to do its thing, the paste polymerizes. Or, in English, hardens.
So there we have it. Clinker. Cute name for something stony, eh?
Oh, and clinkers are also a chocolate-coated candy in Australia. Lots of differently-colored boiled sweets smothered in chocolate in a bar- form. I think I prefer the Australian version…..
For more little-known and utterly fascinating stone facts you never knew (and always wanted to), visit www.LoveYourStone.com and click on FAQ.