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What's the difference between concrete and cement?
Concrete vs Cement.
What is concrete, what is cement? What are the inherent differences between these two?
We can start by explaining what the two terms really mean.
Cement is a general term used to refer to a binder, any kind of binder, which is used to hold tightly together other materials.
While concrete is, on the other hand, a mixture of pastes and aggregates. These aggregates are a mix of sand, gravel and rocks. Water and cement are then added to this mix, the cement to bind the materials together, while the water helps to mix them and create a coarse paste. The paste is left to dry and harden. The product of this process is what is called concrete.
Basically, there are two different types of cement, these are; hydraulic and non-hydraulic cement.
Hydraulic cement is the term used to describe any cement that makes use water to kick starts a chemical reaction between the compounds that make up the cement. The chemical reaction hardens the mixture, creating a water resistant product at the end of the reaction. The chemical reaction is not dependent on the water content of the various constituent materials of the mixture, this allows the material to be able to harden even used underwater. This particular feature of hydraulic cement makes it a very versatile construction material.
On the other hand Non-hydraulic cement makes use of materials that do not harden when exposed to water. In cost, non hydraulic cement is far cheaper than its hydraulic counterpart, but it has the downside of taking a very long time to dry and harden. Also, it cannot be used in wet environments, thereby making its practical, real life applications very small.
Cement has been in use for ages, but in modern days, Portland cement has been the cement of choice. Portland cement is made by grinding alumino silicate minerals and small bits of sintered limestone into very fine powder. What sets it apart from other cements is its fast drying time and the higher compression strength it packs.
Concrete on the other side is made of inert course materials such as gravel, recycled concrete, crushed stone, sand. The ratio of the materials is mostly dependent on the purpose of the concrete, that is, the kind of application it will be used for. Some of the benefits of concrete include its low maintenance, durability, energy efficiency, fire-resistance and environmental friendliness.
The struggle of concrete vs cement is not peculiar to laymen; even professionals mistake one for the other sometimes. For the sake of clarity, Cement is really an ingredient used in making concrete. The rock-like masses known as concrete are made by mixing the fine powder called cement with water, sand, and gravel or crushed stone.
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Ready Mixed Concrete which is made up of cement water sand and aggregates/stone has been a primary construction material for centuries. Ready mix concrete is used as a foundation material due to its strength and longevity. In addition to being used as a foundation material ready mix concrete is also used for concrete floors and driveways, parking lots, concrete countertops, curbs, and
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