Cement Vs Concrete – What is the difference?
What is Cement?
Cement is a powdery substance; this is part of the four substances used to make concrete. Mixing cement with water creates a paste that will then harden and binds together with the elements it is mixed in with and hardens.
There is much confusion between the two terms and understandably if this is not your background, but there is in-fact great differences between the two.
Cement is made up of elements such as limestone, silica, shale, clay, slate, and iron ore. Once mined these are heated to extreme temperatures in a rotating kiln. The kiln is around 300 ft long and rotated facing upwards and keeping the materials moving as they are heated.
Immense flames are at the bottom of the kiln and range from 2700-3000 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat is constant whilst the kiln is moving and mixing these contents. When the mixture is exposed to very high temperatures, they form marble sized balls called ‘clinkers’. These are ground down into a very fine powder called Portland Cement.
This is then ground down further into a very fine powder and mixed in with measured amounts of limestone and gypsum. This is the ready mix ready to then make concrete.
When cement gets mixed with water it forms a paste. As soon as the two materials are mixed together a chemical reaction takes place that produces “heat”. The chemical reaction is called heat of hydration. As hydration takes place, over time, the paste hardens and gains strength binding together whatever it’s mixed with.
What is concrete?
Fun fact, second only to water, concrete is next most used material in the world!
Concrete is made using cement and there lies the confusion. Concrete is made by using four basic ingredients with cement being one of the four. The others are sand, aggregates, and water. Once the measured amounts are combined and mixed with water this creates concrete. The combination of the sand, cement water and aggregates into a paste is very hard when it dries. The strength of this mixture is relative to the proportions of sand to water to aggregates and sand. The resilience and strength is generically determined by the solidity of the mixture. The sturdier the mixture the harder it will dry. The runnier the less so.
What to Use & When?
Generically speaking concrete would be the best material to use due to its longevity and durability, it’s a very strong substance and the most used building material on the planet.
Cement, on its own, isn’t nearly as strong as concrete. The mixture isn’t as sturdy as a concrete mixture and may crack or break away. It can be used for smaller scale work or repairs. But it would not be effective as a foundation material. It is the aggregates that are mixed in with the cement mix that make it so strong.
Cement could be used to patch small areas of damaged concrete, patch mortar in a brick wall, or as a grout for filling small holes.
Suggesting that a concrete mixture will out weight the cement on its own.
How can Cemgate help?
Whatever your concrete requirements, Cemgate are best positioned to offer you a professional and comprehensive service.
Our modern volumetric concrete mixers, and state-of-the-art concrete pumps, can cater for anything from the smallest domestic job to large commercial pours.
Concrete can be mixed on-site, and we offer domestic and volumetric concrete also, in addition to floor screed, and groundworks.
We can cater to all budgets and are happy to talk over the details, we offer jumbo bags and can cater to bulk orders, and have a seamless delivery service.
Our online concrete calculator is there to help you to estimate what would be needed to complete your job in hand.