Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Kenneth L. Bergeson


This research work aimed at characterising composition, hydration and physical properties of fluoride cement, by studying samples of the cement obtained from Malawi, and comparing them to ordinary Portland cement. By confirming the suitable characteristics of fluoride cement through this work, the results of the research work provide a good basis for the wider adoption of fluoride cement as an alternative to ordinary Portland cement, especially in developing economies.

Numerous accounts have been cited regarding the production and use of fluoride cement. Since there have not been conclusive agreement as to its properties, this study was limited to the theories of successful incorporation of fluoride compounds in the manufacture of fluoride cement. Hence, the properties and characteristics reported in this study relate to the cement currently manufactured in Malawi, and, on a comparative basis only, to that manufactured in other parts of the world. Samples of the fluoride cement used in the study were obtained by synthetic manufacture of the cement using common raw materials for the manufacture of fluoride cement that is limestone, silica sand, and fluorspar.

These samples were subjected to several comparative tests used to characterise cements including examination under x-ray diffractometer, scanning electron microscopy and tests for setting time and compressive strength. Under similar laboratory conditions, it was possible to prove that fluoride cement hardens more rapidly than ordinary Portland cement. Also observed during the experimental work is that fluoride cement develops higher compressive strengths than ordinary Portland cement. The hardening and setting times are significantly different between the two cements. Also the nature of the hydration products, that is the microstructural development is significantly different in the two cements.

The differences brought about between the two cements are because of the presence of fluorine during the clinkering process. It was observed in the laboratory simulated production of fluoride cement, that the clinkering temperature is much lower (around 1 170 °C) compared to that for the production of ordinary Portland cement. The other observed differences were attributed to the different mineralogical composition as a result of fluoride incorporation into the cement. While fluorine content is very minimal in fluoride cement, not more than 2 %, the resulting cementitious products are altered significantly as was observed from the study.

Part of the experimental results has been used as reference material in the preparation of a draft Malawi Standard on fluoride cement. This draft standard will be submitted to the Malawi Bureau of Standards for further processing before it can be officially endorsed as a Malawi Standard.

Copyright Owner

Charles David Malata-Chirwa



File Format


File Size

77 pages