Fundamental difference between cement and concrete

Humans have searched for shelter from ancient ages. As we started living in homes, we started innovating different types of concrete. A lot of changes have come in building construction down the centuries. The art of mixing cement was first presented by the Greeks. They taught humanity to mix water with asphalt and some other materials. Now, we have evolved into a stage where we can build homes that last ages.

Concrete vs Cement the age-old question. But aren’t concrete and cement the same thing? Believe it or not, No they aren’t. Concrete and cement have similar properties and characteristics however they even have their variations too. That’s right Concrete and Cement are different! And more and more people are using the terms incorrectly. So I guess it’s time to add in my two cents.

Cement is actually a the base to concrete, or a more common term for this base is “Portland Cement”


It may be a mixture of powder of corundum, silica, lime, iron oxide, and magnesium oxide burned together in a kiln and finely pulverized and used as an ingredient of mortar and concrete. Cement actually has so many uses I could fill an entire hard drive with information about it. So I am gonna try to stick to the basics and explain to the best of my ability’s.
The most common use of concrete is a mixture of cement and a mineral aggregate (as sand and gravel) with enough water to cause the cement to set and bind the entire mass. Cement holds the aggregate together. By adding this mixture together you get the more durable compound concrete. This mixture is the most commonly used building material in the world.


Concrete is so widely used it is also available with different aggregates for different applications. For instance if you were wanting to make a light-weight concrete structure you’d use a ceramic – perlite kind mixture for your combination. Or if you were looking to build a fortress that shields against nuclear radiation you would want a steel or iron pellet mixture. The steel and iron aggregate makes a very dense concrete. (bomb shelter anyone?)


Just to be a little more specific with cement, you will commonly see a term Portland Cement. Portland cement is that the commonest form of cement. Portland Type Cement is basically a standard in concrete. This hydraulic cement is made by heating a limestone and clay mixture in a kiln and pulverizing the resulting material. This material cures with water and helps produce a water proof or resistant texture.


In connection with construction come two important words- cement and concrete. Many people use them interchangeably, not once realizing that the two are actually very different from each other. When we look at the foundations of the buildings or sidewalk, we are looking at concrete. Cement is one in all the materials that went into creating of the concrete. Apart from cement, gravel, sand, water etc are mixed in swirling containers to the required consistency. So, the “cement mixers” that we tend to see might rather be concrete mixers!


Though concrete cannot be crushed easily, it can quite easily be ripped apart. Easily, of course, when compared to crushing. The fact that it can be ripped apart can be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage. Because it can be ripped apart easily, it is great when repairs are needed. There is no hassle and work gets done faster. But this becomes a hindrance when we need strength. But this problem is taken care of with steel rods. These reinforcements are like a strong root of the tree, they support and fortify concrete.

Steel rods are made use of when making roads. The steel rods are put in to prevent untimely cracks in the concrete. This process is called ‘re-barring’. They keep the cracks to a minimum. This measure stops a structure made of concrete from collapsing altogether.

Cement can also be fortified using fibers. These fibers are thin and almost like threads. But they consist of steel, polypropylene, and poly-olefin particles. Again, these strengthen the building or any other structure. The fibers have an added advantage that they melt in extreme heat and they create small valves that are like outlet for pressure of steam With time both cement and concrete have evolved to make life safer.


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