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What is the Difference Between Concrete and Cement?

The main difference between concrete and cement is that cement is the primary ingredient used in making concrete. It is mixed with water and aggregate to produce the final output: concrete.

Concreters combine cement with water to form a paste that hardens over time through a chemical process called hydration. In other words, cement is the main binding agent used in concrete.

In this blog, we’ll expand more on the common questions regarding concrete and cement and the qualities that make them good.

What is Concrete Made Of?

Concrete is made of cement, water, and aggregates (sand and gravel) and often includes admixtures. Cement acts as the primary binder, holding the other components together once it hydrates and hardens.

The aggregates, which make up the bulk of the mixture, provide strength and bulk to the finished concrete. Water is crucial as it initiates the chemical reaction that causes the cement to set and harden.

Admixtures are added to modify the properties of the concrete, enhancing its durability, workability, or setting time depending on the project requirements. The mixing process must be carefully managed to ensure that the concrete has the right consistency and strength.

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What is Cement Made Of?

Cement is made of limestone, clay, and other materials such as iron ore or fly ash. These ingredients are finely ground and then heated to high temperatures in a rotary kiln, a process that results in the formation of clinker.

The clinker is then cooled and ground again, typically with a small amount of gypsum added to regulate the setting time of the finished product. This finely ground powder is what we know as Portland cement, the most commonly used type of cement in the concrete industry.

Should I Use Concrete or Cement?

You should use concrete for construction projects like accessways, driveways, and foundations. The added durability and strength of concrete make it an ideal choice for developing concrete structures.

The Difference Between Concrete and Cement

On the other hand, cement is one of the primary ingredients of concrete. Although durable in its own right, it simply can’t match the structural integrity of concrete.

Most people use cement when they are patching or repairing existing surfaces.

What Are the Qualities of Good Concrete?

The following are the qualities of good concrete:

  • Strength: It must have sufficient compressive strength to bear loads and resist weathering.
  • Durability: Good concrete resists wear and tear from weather and chemical exposure, maintaining its integrity over time.
  • Workability: It should be easy to mix, place, and consolidate without segregating or bleeding.
  • Low permeability: A quality mix prevents water and other substances from penetrating, protecting the internal structure.
  • Uniformity: The mixture should be consistent in colour and texture throughout, ensuring an aesthetically pleasing finish.