Does Cement Loses its Strength Over a Period of Time?
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Cement is the first material that we think of when we want to build a house or any other structures. There are many construction materials which are used to construct a house or building but cement has a major role to play with respect to its life, strength and cost. its own valuable impression.
Cement is basically ground as powder which reacts with water and set to a hard mass and gain strength when used with aggregates. Cement is an adhesive substance which is composed of many minerals. Among that minerals, gypsum is the most basic minerals and it is also known as calcium sulfate dihydrate. Due to the easy availability of raw materials, cement industries are growing day by day and the rate of consumption of cement also goes on increasing 11% annually in India and a similar rate globally.
Fresh cement has many benefits. Fresh cement only leads to the good quality of construction which ultimately results into the longer service life of the building. But cement which is stored in godown for a longer duration, out dated cement or cement which is stored on site for a longer duration may lead to the poor quality of construction.
Though the cement might be well protected in the cement godown, it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and over a period of time, cement loses its strength. So, a million-dollar question is does cement loses its strength over a time?
Yes, Cement loses its strength over a period of time.
Cement is available in the form of a very fine powder and it has a tendency to absorb moisture from the atmosphere. When it absorbs moisture, it hydrates, and consequently the use of that cement does not contribute to the strength development or it contributes less.
Such cement gets hardened and form lumps. Hence one gets confused whether one can use such cement? or how old cement one can use?
Not only atmospheric moisture affects the cement, but the water or dampness during the monsoon also deteriorates the cement when stored for longer period at site or in cement godown. In monsoon, cement will deteriorate early. But generally cement starts deteriorating after approximately three months. It is advisable to use cement within three months of its bagging. If usage of cement is required even after 3 months of its manufacturing then always check it by carry out different cement test. Proper arrangement therefore should be made in cement godown. Cement bought first should be used first.
Generally, cement is bagged in Jute bags (gunny bags). Jute bags are neither airtight nor damp-proof and also do not prevent absorption of moisture. Vice versa cement bagged in woven polythene or craft papers are not likely to deteriorate fast to the extent mentioned above. The loss of strength also depends on the condition of the godown.
To know more how the moisture can affect the quality of cement, read the effect of moisture on cement bags.
The loss of strength of cement at different interval of times as reported by major studies is as given below in the table.
Age of Cement
% Reduction in Strength of Cement
Also read: OPC vs PPC: How to Make the Right Choice
Concrete is the most versatile material in the construction industry. To make durable concrete, the good quality of fresh cement is needed. If we use old cement, it will definitely affect the strength of concrete/mortar which ultimately result into the repair and maintenance of the house.
Note that the Strength of any concrete structure majorly depends on strength of the cement. If you use the fresh cement (at least 3 month old cement), it imparts high strength to your structure and makes it long lasting. Uses of old cement therefore can lead to various problems such as development cracks, leakages, corrosion etc. which will increase your maintenance cost and reduce life of your structure.
Thus, using old cement without testing can make your life unsafe and unhealthy too, snatching your happiness.