What’s the Difference Between Cement and Concrete?

shotcrete

Concrete is one of the most utilized man-made materials on the planet. Used for buildings, sidewalks, and infrastructure worldwide, concrete is a hearty material comprised of a mixture of aggregates (any coarse particles used in construction) and paste. Common concrete aggregates include sand and gravel and common pastes are composed of water and cement. That’s right, contrary to popular belief; cement is actually an ingredient in concrete itself.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, concrete and cement couldn’t be more different. Concrete is the material that we know and love, whereas cement is simply a binding agent used in approximately 15% of concrete to create its signature hardness. Cement is typically composed of finely ground limestone, silica, alumina, and iron oxide.

Types of Cement

There are two common forms of cement: hydraulic and non-hydraulic cement. Hydraulic cement hardens when it comes into contact with water and ultimately forms a water resistant barrier. This is the kind of cement most people are familiar with. Non-hydraulic cement does not harden when in the presence of water. The most common form of cement used in concrete, Portland cement, is a form of hydraulic cement. While most forms of Portland cement are very similar, there are varieties of cement which can be used for specific construction needs:

  • Sulphate-resistant cement
  • Rapid hardening cement
  • Air Entraining cement
  • Colored cement
  • Low-heat cement
  • Hydrographic cement
  • Blast furnace slag cement
  • White cement (created by using materials with no grey raw materials, such as iron or manganese)
  • Quick setting cement

Conco’s mission is to be the best supplier of concrete services in the Western United States and to bring expertise, experience and quality to each project. We continue to upgrade and expand facilities to better serve the growing market for public works projects, commercial, parking structures, educational, and other construction development. We serve California, Washington State, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada.

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