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Posted by on Oct 3, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Is the Distinction Between Cement and Concrete?

What Is the Distinction Between Cement and Concrete?

Cement is a fine, grayish powder. In general terms, the word cement refers to any kind of binder that tightly holds other materials together. It is mixed with water and materials such as sand and crushed rock to make concrete.

The cement and water form a paste that binds the other materials together as the mixture hardens. Basically, concrete is the stone-like structure formed after cement and other materials are mixed together.

People often misuse the words “cement” and “concrete.” You may have heard someone speak of “a cement sidewalk.” But the sidewalk actually is made of concrete. Cement is made by heating a mixture of lime and clay or slag to form glassy cinders collectively called “clinker.” The clinker is then ground to a powder.

Cement comes in two forms: Hydraulic and Non-Hydraulic. Hydraulic cement refers to any cement that uses water to begin a chemical reaction that hardens the mixture and, when fully formed, creates a water resistant product. This reaction is independent of the water content of the mixture so allows for the material to harden even underwater.

Non-hydraulic cement uses materials that do not harden when exposed to water. While this type is much cheaper than hydraulic cement, the problems of long drying times combined with the inability to use it in wet environments makes it a poor choice in most applications.

Concrete is a mixture of cement, water, and aggregates. Aggregates make up approximately 60-75% of the mixture and cement and water make up the rest. Aggregates are usually inert course materials like gravel, crushed stone, sand, or recycled concrete. The type of aggregate selected depends on the application of the concrete.

Given that concrete starts out as a semi-liquid, has great weather proof properties, and high strength, its applications for use in construction are almost endless. The benefits of concrete include its durability, fire-resistance, low maintenance, energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.

Content for this question contributed by Debbie Greiwe, resident of Shelbyville, Shelby County, Indiana, USA