Most people know what cement is as they have seen it and also practically used it in their homes for construction purposes. There is another product called concrete which people know about but cannot tell difference between cement and concrete. They even use the terms interchangeably whereas cement and concrete, though serving similar purposes are entirely different products. Here is some insight into these two construction material with features of both.
What is Concrete
How would you react if you were to be told that concrete is the second most consumed material on earth after water and that three tones of concrete is used per person every year. Another startling piece of information for those who think that concrete is cement is the fact that concrete is a mixture of cement and water with fine and course materials such as sand and gravel mixed into it. This mixture is said to have more strength than just cement and hence used everywhere from exterior to interior walls, footings, flooring, and probably every other place where building process is going on. Concrete is used more than any other man made material all over the world. Concrete cannot be made without cement, and that is what we are going to discuss next.
What is Cement
Cement is one man made material that is widely used in all parts of the world for construction purposes. It is a super glue that sets building material together quickly and allows for construction of multi storied structures. Portland cement, which is one of the most popular cement types today was discovered by Joseph Aspdin in 1700’s when he added clay to limestone and then superheated the mixture. It is made from limestone, gypsum, calcium, silicon, iron, aluminum and other ingredients in smaller proportions. These materials are heated to about 2700 degree Fahrenheit. The product, called clinkers is ground and then gypsum is added making a grey powdery substance that is called cement. Upon adding water, cement hydrates and then sets, becoming almost stone in a few hours.
Both concrete and cement are used as building materials. They are placed between bricks, rocks and stones to hold the structure intact.
Differences between Cement and Concrete
• Compared to cement, concrete has less tensile strength and cannot withstand earthquakes and very strong winds. This is why it is reinforced by adding steel girders to make the structure strong.
• Concrete also takes longer than cement to set. Setting time of concrete can be increased or decreased by varying amounts of gypsum in the mixture.
• However, when it comes to strength, concrete is far ahead of cement and this is why it is used at places where strong structures are needed.
• Concrete is an integral part of construction of pathways, roads, edges of pools and even skyscrapers.
• In general wherever more strength is required, concrete is preferred over cement.