In the manufacture of Portland cement, clinker occurs as lumps or nodules, usually 3 millimetres (0.12 in) to 25 millimetres (0.98 in) in diameter, produced by sintering (fusing together without melting to the point of liquefaction) limestone and aluminosilicate materials such as clay during the cement kiln stage.
Clinker consists of various calcium silicates including alite and belite. Tricalcium aluminate and calcium aluminoferrite are other common components. These components are often generated on site by heating various clays and limestone.
Clinkers are used in the production of mortar and concrete during the construction process.The reason clinker is one of the most common construction ingredients among other is its ability to hold the structure together.
Clinker, if stored in dry conditions, can be kept for several months without appreciable loss of quality. Because of this, and because it can easily be handled by ordinary mineral handling equipment, clinker is traded internationally in large quantities. Cement manufacturers purchasing clinker usually grind it as an addition to their own clinker at their cement plants. Manufacturers also ship clinker to grinding plants in areas where cement-making raw materials are not available.