Difference Between Cement vs. Concrete

Main Difference

The main difference between cement and concrete are that cement is a fine powder made up of crushed minerals such as limestone and clay and concrete is the pourable mix of cement, sand, water, and gravel which hardens into a super-strong building material.

Cement vs. Concrete

Cement is a powder that is made up of crushed minerals such as limestone and clay, which function as a binder. Concrete is the pourable mix of cement, sand, water, and gravel which hardens into a super-strong building material. Cement and concrete are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Portland cement is a generic term for the most prevalent type of cement. Concrete includes cement and other things, like aggregates and paste. These aggregates include small materials such as gravel, crushed stone, or sand. Water and Portland cement are added to hold the aggregate together. It is a fine grey powder which looks like grey flour. Cement is the “glue” that binds concrete together. The hardening time of concrete depends on factors like the amount of gypsum added to the mixture. This time can speed up by adding the accelerating admixtures. It can also be slowed down by adding a set retarding admixture. A Briton, Joseph Aspdin, developed cement as the building material in the eighteenth century. He discovered that the addition of clay to limestone and superheating the mixture would make such a material that will set anywhere with great strength. Roman Empire was the earliest to use concrete. Also, there is some indication that even earlier civilizations used a distant form of concrete. The Romans used a mix of pozzolana, quicklime, and an aggregate of pumice. The Pantheon is the biggest concrete dome without reinforcement in the world that was built in 120 A.D.

Comparison Chart

CementConcrete
A fine grey powder made up of crushed minerals such as limestone and clayA pourable mix of cement, sand, water, and gravel which hardens into a super-strong building material
Composition
Limestone, clay, shells, sand, and silicaCement, sand, water, and gravel
Types
Hydraulic and non-hydraulicNormal, high Strength, high Performance, air-entrained, light Weight, self-compacting, shotcrete, pervious Concrete, and roller compacted concrete

What is Cement?

Cement is a fine grey powder that acts as a binding element in concrete and mortar. It is made of limestone, clay, shells, and silica sand. Limestone is the most prevalent ingredient in cement. All of These materials are crushed and combined with other ingredients (including iron ore). It is then heated to about 2,700 F. This material is called clinker. It is ground into a fine powder. It is packaged in the final step. A Briton, Joseph Aspdin (a mason of England), developed cement as the building material in the eighteenth century. He discovered that the addition of clay to limestone and superheating the mixture would make such a material that will set anywhere with great strength. Portland cement is a generic term for the most prevalent type of cement. Cement refers to as Portland cement because Joseph Aspdin likened the color to the stone from the quarries on the island of Portland, off the coast of England. Cement is made from a variety of materials, but it cannot be used on its own. Roman cement was crushed rock with volcanic ash, burnt lime, and brick supplements. Today’s Portland cement is the most common cement used. It is used for mixing various cementitious building materials, including mortar and concrete. It is one of the lowest cost materials around the world due to the widespread availability of limestone and shales. The two forms of cement are: hydraulic and non-hydraulic. Hydraulic means that it will set and harden when combined with water.

What is Concrete?

Concrete is a product resulting from mixing cement, aggregates (including sand, gravel, crushed stone), water, and admixtures together. Roman Empire was the earliest to use concrete. Also, there is some indication that even earlier civilizations used a distant form of concrete. The Romans used a mix of pozzolana, quicklime, and an aggregate of pumice. The Pantheon is the biggest concrete dome without reinforcement in the world that was built in 120 A.D. Concrete is a building material used for foundation walls, patios, concrete slabs, and many other masonry structures. The hardening time of concrete depends on factors like the amount of gypsum added to the mixture. This time can speed up by adding the accelerating admixtures. It can also be slowed down by adding a set retarding admixture. Cement makes up from 10% to 15% of the total mass of concrete. The concrete mix is poured into a mold before it is allowed to harden to get the desired shape. Some common types of concrete are Normal concrete, High Strength Concrete, High-Performance Concrete, Air Entrained Concrete, Light Weight Concrete, Self Compacting Concrete, Shotcrete, Pervious Concrete, and Roller Compacted Concrete. Concrete gets stronger when it gets older as the hardening process continues over time. It even hardens underwater and remains strong in wet conditions with the right mix.

Ingredients of Concrete

  • Cement: the binder used to hold other materials together.
  • Aggregates: sand, sand, gravel, crushed stone
  • Water: the most important element needed for hydration
  • Admixtures: ingredients other than cement, e.g., retarders, accelerators, water reducers, superplasticizers, mineral fly ash, silica fumes, and slags.

Key Differences

  1. Cement is a powder that is made up of crushed minerals such as limestone and clay which function as a binder whereas concrete is the pourable mix of cement, sand, water, and gravel which hardens into a super-strong building material.
  2. Cement includes limestone, clay, shells, and silica, and sand on the flip side concrete includes cement and other things, like gravel, crushed stone, sand water, and Portland.
  3. A Briton, Joseph Aspdin, developed cement as the building material in the eighteenth century while the Roman Empire was the earliest to use concrete.

Conclusion

Cement and concrete are used interchangeably. But they are not the same thing. Both are the building materials but are different in their chemical composition,

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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