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Building Chemistry

Building and construction chemistry is all about meeting the ever-increasing demands of the construction industry with innovative formulated products. Contractors insist on shorter construction cycles, better guarantees of performance and lower overall costs. Increasingly, products formulated with calcium aluminates from Kerneos™ are meeting these requirements.

In "building chemistry", applications that may require calcium aluminate cement include tile adhesives, tile grouts, rapid floor screeds, floor leveling compounds and water-stop mortars.  In "construction chemistry", applications that may require calcium aluminate cement include self leveling toppings, repair mortars, sealers, bedding mortars and non-shrink grouts.

Calcium aluminates are at the core of many high performance formulated products used for building and construction chemistry formulations.  Kerneos™ knowledge of the physical, mineralogical and chemical properties of these materials can make us a helpful partner for companies seeking to develop their activity in this industry.

Kerneos™ has supplied calcium aluminates for building and construction applications since the invention of Fondu by Lafarge in 1908.  Over the past 30 years, the formulation of technical products in these industries has grown into a science in its own right.  Dedicated to calcium aluminate solutions, Kerneos™ has been able to assist in the development of products tailored to the needs of this industry using the experience gained over many years of supplying building and construction product formulators with a range of cements designed to ease the formulation of technically advanced products.

Kerneos™ products have been developed to meet the requirements of customers supplying the building and construction markets worldwide.  A wide variety of products can be formulated using calcium aluminates:

Ciment Fondu®:  The worlds first commercially manufactured calcium aluminate cement patented by J. Bied of Lafarge in 1908. Its composition of 40% alumina, 36% lime and 5% silica creates a dark brown cement containing at least 75% reactive phases.  The clinker is manufactured at a separate production facility and ground to 4,000 cm 2/g at our Chesapeake, VA plant.

Secar® 41:  Increasing the purity of the raw materials used for Fondu® increases the alumina content to 48% while keeping the lime content at 35% and creates a cement medium gray in color.  This modifies the composition of the reactive phases to ones that can provide more open time to formulators.  This clinker is manufactured at a separate production facility and ground to 4,000cm 2/g at our Chesapeake, VA plant.

Secar® 51:  Using higher quality raw materials produces a cement with 52% alumina and 37% lime.  Composed primarily of the calcium aluminate (CaAl2O4) phase, this light gray cement is chosen by formulators for its excellent ability to activate portland cement formulations. This clinker is manufactured at a separate production facility and ground to 4,000cm 2/g at our Chesapeake, VA plant.

Ternal® W:  This clinker is manufactured by sintering high purity alumina and lime on site in Chesapeake, VA. This clinker is composed principally of calcium aluminate (CA) phases and forms our most versatile and pure cement.  Process controls create a very consistent balance of phases within the cement to provide rheological characteristics that the demanding formulator will appreciate.  White in color with a specification range for L*, a*, and b* colorimetry, and containing 70% alumina and 30% lime this cement is the most pure calcium aluminate cement we manufacture today.  No admixtures or additional alumina assures that the formulator receives only hydraulic calcium aluminate phases.

Ternal ® NT is a new family calcium aluminate based Portland cement accelerators which allow for simple, one component acceleration and property enhancement of Portland cement (PC) based mortars and concretes. Faster set, early strength and shrinkage compensation are all possible with substitutions of PC from 5 - 35% depending on how much property enhancement you would like to see.

Ternal ® EP : A calcium aluminate binder designed for optimal ettringite formation in both fluid and non-flow drymix mortars. Ternal® EP is the Ettringite engine in plain form. Its mineralogy is specifically engineered for the development of binary formulations. Ternal® EP has an embedded lime content that ensures that when it is combined with a suitable source of calcium sulfate, the correct stoichiometry for optimal ettringite formation is readily achieved – without any addition of Portland cement.

Ternal ® EV : A calcium aluminate binder designed for optimal ettringite formation in flooring compounds. TERNAL® EV makes it possible to develop an entire range, from mid to high performance self-levelers. TERNAL® EV is the Ettringite engine with low Viscosity and built-in flow. Its mineralogy is specifically engineered for the development of binary formulations.

Peramin : A subsidiary of Kerneos and helps formulators to improve and to master key application and performance properties of the most sophisticated hydraulic binders. Peramin products were originally focused additives for the construction industry. However, since becoming part of Kerneos in 2008, several Peramin products have been optimized to function particularly well in Refractory formulations. Please visit for more information

Customers are constantly seeking to formulate products with precise performance specifications and particular characteristics to meet the needs of their markets. Calcium aluminate cement enables rapid setting, rapid hardening and rapid drying products to be formulated.  More complex challenges such as shrinkage compensation, high flow self-leveling or self-smoothing can also be achieved with careful formulation.

The technical issues faced by formulators working in this field may be resolved by making use of Kerneos’™ wide range of products manufactured to support consistent product performance on-site.

Technical Support:  As the pioneer and innovator in calcium aluminate products, Kerneos™ has developed a know-how that can be requested by customers, whether they are developing new products or enhancing existing ones. Technical support issues may include:

Rheology:  The impact of granulometry, admixtures and the performance of specific polymers and additives in this respect are well understood.

Shrinkage:  Shrinkage compensation can be achieved by the addition of calcium sulfate.  Advice on choice of calcium sulfate needed to arrive at the correct stoichiometry for a product is available.

Bonding:  Judicious choice of a polymer or additive can modify the compatibility to particular surfaces.

Surface Appearance:  Color, smoothness or lack of efflorescence can be controlled by the correct choice of calcium aluminate or additive.

Rapid Drying:  With Kerneos™’ detailed knowledge of how to form ettringite, calcium aluminate based products can be formulated to be both rapid hardening and self-drying.

Controlled Setting:  Kerneos is experienced in the control of complex cementitious systems where calcium aluminates are mixed with Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC).

Durability: Products with good resistance to abrasion, chemical corrosion or heat can be formulated with calcium aluminates.

Advice on issues such as these is readily available from our technical support teams who are positioned around the world to provide technical advice at customers' factories or laboratories.  The natural characteristics of calcium aluminates play an important part in the creation of successful formulations.  However, to harness them efficiently also requires scientific knowledge and considerable research on the part of the building and construction chemist.  Kerneos’™ mission is to support this activity through its network of plants, its product range and its people.


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