Cement vs Concrete: What's the difference?

Cement vs Concrete: What’s the difference?

Cement vs concrete, which is better? As a civil technologist, a friend asked me, he wanted to build a house. Give him an idea which product do he buy for construction either cement or concrete. I replied him these both are different products with different uses. Most of the people think cement and concrete are same, which is not of course. Ok below i will explain what’s the difference between cement and concrete & which you should get.

Cememt vs Concrete: The major difference

What is the major difference of cement and concrete? The concrete is a composed mix of cement, sand and aggregates. While the cement is just an ingredient of concrete, work as a binding material.

Even though both terms often used interchangeably, cement is just an ingredient use in concrete, while the concrete is a mixture of sand and aggregates with the cement water paste. Cement is 8 to 20 percent by weight or by volume. Quantity of cement depends on the concrete grade mix ratio.

Cement binds the sand & aggregates through its hydration process (adding water into cement release heat, that initiate chemical reaction) that harden sand & aggregates into a hard rock. The concrete gets its desired 99% strength after 28 days, but initially sets in 24 to 48 hours.

Cement vs Concrete: What's the difference?
Cement vs Concrete: What’s the difference?

Concrete: what is concrete made of?

Concrete is a composite material or a mixture of cement and water paste with fine and coarse aggregates in a defined ratios. It is widely use building materials globally. Further there’re different types of concrete and different concrete mix grades.

The ratio of ingredients depends on the concrete grade going to be made. Further the water-cement ratio in conc, should be accordingly. There are different grades of concrete such as M10,M15 up to M80. Each concrete grade has a different use and applications.

Read types of concrete

What is cement? Portland cement:

Cement is a adhesive or binding material, a fine powder, used to make concrete and mortar. It works as a binding material. It is composition of lime, silica, aluminum and iron. These materials are mix and heat up to the high temperature to make clinkers, then clinkers are grind into fine powder. In 1824 Joseph Aspdin invented the cement.

Portland cement is a general type, which is use in concrete making. Portland name refer to the type of cement used most commonly. Further there’s two types. Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) & Pozzolana Portland cement which is made by addition of fly ash, volcanic ash into OPC.

Concrete vs Mortar:

There’s a huge difference between concrete and mortar. Concrete is composed of cement, sand & aggregates, while the mortar is just cement & sand mixture. Mortar is use to plaster walls and to make patios surface, while the concrete has variety of use e.g. beam, columns, foundation, slab construction.

Is cement stronger than concrete?

No, cement isn’t stronger than concrete. Cement and water paste has less compressive strength as compare to conc. It is use as binder, which binds, set or harden inert materials such as sand and aggregates.

What is cement used for?

Yes, you can use cement itself by mixing water but its not as stronger as concrete. Itself it can’t be use as concrete. Cement with water just make a grout, which is use to fill voids & cracks in concrete & plaster. It increase stiffness and reduce permeability.

Why do people say cement instead of concrete?

Its been folk etymology from years and years. USA constructors spent hundreds of dollars on advertisements to make a distinction between calling cement instead of concrete. But still some people refer cement to a conc, while cement is a part/ingredient use in concrete making.

Will cement get hard without sand?

Yes cement will get hard without sand but it will not provide the strength as with sand. Without sand cement can only be use as grout, which is just applicable for filling cracks on surface. Except this cement grout reduced permeability if applied on surface.

Is all cement waterproof?

No, cement isn’t a waterproof nor conc is. Both have high densities by which that can resist water. They both absorb water, if the water stays for too long, but if you make their surface smoother and pour it well, it will not cause leakage problems.

Can I make concrete with just sand and cement?

No, you can’t make concrete with just sand and cement. Aggregate is an essential part of concrete. The mixture of cement-sand is called mortar, which is use to plaster walls.

How long will concrete last?

Concrete can last up to 100 years, if its poured efficiently, cured and cared. If there’s no proper maintenance or less, the life span of concrete will be shorter, can be half.

Conclusion: What you need to know?

Above we explained everything related to the topic cement vs concrete. If i define it with one line “cement and concrete are different products with different use according to need”. Concrete is hard mixture use for major construction, while cement is just an ingredient of concrete & mortar. Cement itself is nothing but can just make a grout with water use to fill small gaps and cracks. If you are constructing patios, walkways, beams, columns, slabs you really need concrete. For plaster work you need mortar.

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