Cement is often confused with concrete, and it’s a common misconception that both are interchangeable terms.
It is made from calcium and silica rich materials like clay and limestone. Due to its unique adhesive properties it is an excellent binding agent, but left to its own it is prone to cracking.
In its simplest form, concrete is a mixture of paste and aggregates. The paste, composed of portland cement and water, coats the surface of the fine and coarse aggregates. Through a chemical reaction called hydration, the paste hardens and gains strength to form the rock-like mass known as concrete.
Portland cement is not a brand name. Instead, it’s a generic term for the most prevalent type of cement—just like stainless is a type of steel, not a trademarked name.
Cement makes up from 10% to 15% of the total mass of concrete; though the exact proportions are different from mixture to mixture, depending on which type of concrete is being made. Portland cement is a type of hydraulic cement, which means that when water is added through a process called hydration, it starts the chemical reaction that causes the cement to harden and set, holding the aggregates together in a rocklike mixture—concrete. Before the concrete is allowed to harden, however, the concrete mix must be poured into a mold so that it will harden into the desired shape.
cement is an ingredient in concrete.
Concrete is more durable than cement.
Yes, concrete can last hundreds of years, but cement is much less durable. To use an analogy, cement is to concrete as milk is to ice cream. Sure, ice cream has milk in it, but it isn’t milk. It’s actually much better.
Concrete works well in larger projects, while cement is more often used in smaller jobs.
One of the strongest and longest-lasting materials known to man, concrete is used to build schools, bridges, sidewalks, and countless other structures. But you don’t need a hard hat to have success with concrete.