This study deals with the characterization of narrowly sized fractions of clinker ground by ball mill and high-pressure grinding rolls. Chemical, physical and mineralogical characterizations were made by using XRF, laser sizing, Blaine, BET, SEM, and image analysis techniques. The emphasis was given to the preferential liberation of the constituent clinker phases. High-pressure grinding rolls gave higher degrees of liberation of mineral phases arising from the intergranular breakage along the grain boundaries compared to ball mill grinding. This is expected to influence the downstream service properties of cement. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.