Understanding Cement and Concrete: Some basic definitions

People mostly confused cement and concrete, especially because these two words have such a blurred definition in general. A few basic definitions would surely help one understand the differences between ‘cement’ and ‘concrete’, and other necessary materials in this field. Cement manufacturers and cement factories have all of these products discussed below at their disposal. One thing to note is that during construction, most builders prefer to use gypsum plaster over plaster of paris. Now, let us discuss the various cement ingredients one would come across in the cement industry.

Portland Cement: This is made by heating a mixture of limestone and clay in a kiln at about 145C. This is then ground to a fine powder with a small addition of gypsum. Portland Cement is the most basic cement that one would find. The ordinary Portland cement is the normal, grey cement that most people are familiar with.

Clinker: This is the nodular material before it is ground up and added with gypsum to result in Portland cement. These nodules can vary from 1mm to 25mm or more in diameter.

Cement: This is actually a broad term that could mean anything from Portland cement to other cements, depending upon the context in which it is spoken about.

Aggregate: The rock component such as cobbles, gravel, sand and silt, is what is made up of this.

Concrete: This is the synthetic rock which is made using the cement, that is mixed with the aggregate and water.

Mortar: This is used usually to bond bricks and building stone. A mixture of cement and fine aggregate, usually sand is what makes up mortar.

Grout: This made from a mixture of cement and other fine material such as sand. This has a long list of uses that varies in a wide range from filling the gaps between bathroom tiles to oil wells.

Composite cements: The mixtures that are used widely made from blastfurnace slag from iron production and pulverized fuel ash, combined with Portland cement mixtures is the result of composite cements.

Calcium aluminate cements (CACs): High alumina cements have been renamed as ciment fondu. Concretes that are made with CACs develop strength quickly and also are resistant to chemical attack. CACs are also used in grouts and in other specialized applications, and are sometimes mixed with the Portland cement and other materials such as gypsum.

The most basic cement-like product materials are lime concrete and mortar. In the pages of history, lime is probably the most basic cement-like material. At present, concrete and lime mortar are the products that are used for the repairing and rebuilding of heritage buildings. In certain cases, however, lime mortar is has been used in the construction of brand new buildings as well.

If you are trying to learn more about the cement industry, having a basic understanding of the cement products that are used in it would help. This article attempts to give the reader a basic understanding of the cement industry.

Author Bio: Diana Fernandez writes about construction. In this article, she tries to explore the basics of cement industry and their definitions.