What is the Difference Between Concrete and Cement

In the day to day life, it is not unusual to hear someone referring to cement and concrete as the same thing. However, concrete is very different from cement in as much as the two are used in almost the same contexts. If you are not a builder or have never had to deal with construction, you might be excused for not knowing the difference between concrete and cement. However, it is imperative that you know the difference between the two as the need for some construction work even around your compound might arise. The simplest and most obvious difference between cement and concrete is that concrete is that concrete contains cement in addition to sand and gravel. Cement Cement is a building material that is made from several ingredients. The use of cement dates back to the time of Greek and Roman empires.

Cement was used widely by the Greeks and Romans in their building. When the Roman Empire fell, the use of cement that was then so widespread also got lost. For hundreds of years, cement remained unknown to builders. In 1700’s a British citizen by the name of Joseph Aspdin rediscovered cement. He discovered that if you added clay to limestone and then subjected it to superheat, you would come up with a mixture that would settle anywhere even in water. He called this mixture Portland cement and he patented it. Portland cement is still in use today. Modern day cement is still made in very much the same way as Portland cement was. The major ingredients that are used to make cement are limestone, calcium, aluminum, silicon and iron. Other minor ingredients are also added to the mixture. The mixture is subjected to very high temperatures of about 2700 degrees Fahrenheit in large kilns. The resulting product is called clinkers and it resembles marbles.

The clinkers are then ground to powder. Gypsum is then added to create the gray floury substance that is called cement. Adding water to cement initiates a chemical process that makes it harder. Concrete While cement is a building material, concrete is a mixture of cement, sand and gravel. The quantity of cement in concrete is roughly 15% of the total mass. On its own, concrete is not a very strong building material and it has poor ability to withstand horizontal compression. In order to make it stronger as a building material, it is reinforced using steel rods. Concrete can also be pre-stressed in order to be much stronger. Concrete is highly durable and as such has quite a number of uses. It makes very durable sidewalks, roads, driveways, pool areas and even other buildings. The ingredients used in concrete are not only easily available but they also have no byproducts hence concrete is a very viable building material.