What’s The Difference Between Cement and Concrete?

The terms ‘cement’ and ‘concrete’ are often confused as being one and the same and the words are often used to describe the same thing – concrete. This is the durable, hard, end product we see cast in many shapes. Cement on the other hand is a powder form ingredient (the stuff you can buy in bags at your hardware) and is the glue needed to hold the concrete together. Concrete is what we get when we make a mix of cement, aggregates (usually sand and crushed stone), and water together and let these cure. The curing happens over time and this is when the mixture will harden and gain strength. This happens promptly in the first few days and then slows down over time, but it keeps gaining strength for years! So, it’s when cement and water come together that a reaction occurs and the mix hardens. Cement (the powder) is a vital ingredient in all concrete (hard and durable) products.

That’s a quick overview of how concrete is made.

But what about how cement is made?

Cement is made from mining and grinding raw materials into a fine powder which is then heated to extremely high temperatures in a cement kiln. These materials include limestone, clay, shale, iron ore, and crushed, and screened rock. Once these materials have been heated, they are finely ground to produce Portland cement.  The inventor Joseph Aspdin, of England, patented the basic process in 1824, naming it for the resemblance of the cement when set to Portland stone, a limestone from the Isle of Portland. Therefore, Portland cement is not a brand name, but rather a generic term for cement. Much like how steel is regularly referred to as stainless steel.

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