Is this related to Fly-Ash?
Everyone in the cement industry is familiar with Fly-Ash as a partial replacement of the cement whereas the optimum percentages depends on many factors, but the question is dedicated to “can the product cement itself fly?”.
Yes, basically everything can fly (even for a short period of time) as long if you put enough motion into the object/product. As the shape of a Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) particle is in general low sphericity and very angular, such particles by bulk can be moved by a variety of mechanical or pneumatic solutions. Let’s focus on one of the pneumatic process called “fluidization”.
A simplified explanation of fluidization is: liquefaction whereby a granular material is converted from a static solid-like state to a dynamic fluid-like state by means of gas passing through the granular material. When a gas flow is introduced through the bottom of a bed of solid particles, it will move upwards through the bed via the empty spaces between the particles. At low gas velocities, aerodynamic drag on each particle is also low, and thus the bed remains in a fixed state. Increasing the velocity, the aerodynamic drag forces will begin to counteract the gravitational forces, causing the bed to expand in volume as the particles move away from each other. Further increasing the velocity, it will reach a critical value at which the upward drag forces will exactly equal the downward gravitational forces, causing the particles to become suspended within the fluid. At this critical value, the bed is said to be fluidized and will exhibit fluidic behavior. By further increasing gas velocity, the bulk density of the bed will continue to decrease, and its fluidization becomes more violent, until the particles no longer form a bed and are “conveyed” upwards by the gas flow.
When fluidized, a bed of solid particles will behave as a fluid. Similar to water the solid particles will flow to the lowest part of its surrounding allowing to transport the cement in a controlled matter without interference of mechanical parts or equipment in the particles itself.
Such pneumatic conveying is an easy application for handling large amount of solids, like silo’s, hoppers, tanks, vessel holds, domes, flat stores, air slides, etc.