Difference Between Concrete and Cement

Civil Engineer / Content Writer

Sometimes people get confused between concrete and cement. People frequently use the word “Cement” when they actually mean “Concrete”. They use the term cement and concrete interchangeably but in fact both are absolute materials. i.e. Cement and concrete are not the same but both have some specific kind of uses.

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Courtesy - Shutterstock, Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd

Cement:

Cement is a very famous name is an abbreviation of “Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)”. It is a greenish grey powder made from calcined lime stone and clay by grinding into a very fine powder which is never used alone. Different combinations of the calcium silicate, calcium aluminate and calcium aluminoferrite determines the strength of the cement which are categorized as a grade of cement as a 33-grade cement, 43-grade cement, and 53-grade cement.

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Also Read: What is a Grade of Cement?

Cement is a binding material used as the main ingredient to make concrete, mortar, blocks, and other building materials in which it holds another ingredient together. It has a unique adhesive property and hence it is also used as a sealant and in grouting

Concrete:

Concrete is a finished or derived product made from a heterogeneous mixture of cement, aggregates (sand, crushed stone or brick chips) and water.It is the most widely used man-made material on the earth.It is a stone like structure formed after the addition of water which activates the cement to get hardened.

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Courtesy - Shutterstock

The key difference between concrete and cement is that the cement is just a part of concrete.The look of cement and concrete is also different. Cement is in powder form and concrete is in semi-liquid form. Cement is made before concrete. In concrete, the contribution of aggregates are 60 %-75%, cement is around 10%-15 % and water is up to 15%-20%.In concrete, aggregates like sand, gravel, and small rocks are inert material while cement and water undergo chemical process called “Hydration” and the mass hardens like an artificial stone.There are various grades of concrete like M10, M15, M20, M30, M35, M40, M50, M55, M60, M65, M70 etc.

Cement is never used directly or alone. It is always used as a constituent in concrete, mortar etc.Uses of only cement is costly and prone to cracking. The properties of cement and concrete are also different. The concrete has high strength, great waterproofing properties, long service life, high thermal efficiency etc.

Difference between concrete and cement is the case of mistaken identities. Common people should know the basic difference between cement and concrete to overcome the misunderstanding.You can not cast slab, wall or column with cement, but you can do it with concrete. There is also one myth that for higher grade concrete need more cement. As per Indian standard cement content not including fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag in excess of 450 kg/m3 should not be used unless special consideration.

Also Read:

11 Points to Check on Cement Bags Before Buy It
Can I Use One Year Old Cement Bag?
Different Methods for Mixing Concrete

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