Cement and Concrete – 5 Shocking Differences

Cement and Concrete – 5 Shocking Differences

I don’t like concrete jungles.
Callan McAuliffe

This quote sounds good but what is a concrete Jungle? It means places that are filled with Buildings. But why use concrete here? She could have used cement as well. If she wanted to use a metaphor, she could have used Cement Jungles. 

Both cement and concrete are hard man-made materials used to make buildings. The reason is because of the difference between Concrete and Cement. While both may share a lot of similarities, they share many differences as well. They are made differently and function differently. Due to this, the way they are used metaphorically is different as well. 

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But this being said, a lot of people don’t know what is the difference between them. They usually are among those who haven’t seen a cement or mess up names easily. Considering that most of us don’t have to deal with construction and both look pretty similar once applied, this is reasonable. 

Since we are Tips Nepal, we are here to give you tips on knowing the difference between Concrete and Cement

The difference between Concrete and Cement

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences

First of all, you should know that Cement is one of the materials that is used to make concrete. So in this regard, cement can be considered as a raw material for Concrete. This might give you some idea of how these two are different from one another. Since one of them is an ingredient for another, the main differences between them are ingredients, preparation method, and property. Besides these, there is also a difference in the types of Cement and concrete as well. 

With this being cleared, let’s finally move on to the difference.

1. Ingredients 

This is the fundamental difference between cement and concrete. They are made differently hence they are made for different things and serve different functions.

Ingredients of Cement 

The core ingredient of cement is Lime and silica which are some of the most abundant natural materials found on earth. Alongside these the rest of the ingredients of cement are:

  • Alumina
  • Magnesia
  • Iron Oxide
  • Calcium Sulfate
  • Sulfur Trioxide
  • Alkaline

Ingredients for Concrete

The core ingredients of concrete are cement, water, sand, and Aggregates. Besides these, there is a surprising ingredient in concrete as well which is air. The total ingredients that make up concrete are:

  • Cement
  • Aggregate
  • Air
  • Sand
  • Admixtures

Now while the rest of the ingredients are constant with Admixtures are not. They can be anything from cement dye to special chemicals that increase or ad properties to the concrete depending on the need.

2. Process of manufacturing

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences

Since both cement and concrete are man-made materials, both of these follow a specific manufacturing process. 

The manufacturing process of Cement.

Manufacturing cement is a complex process as one needs to consider the type and grade of cement in use. But that being said, the basic manufacturing process can be summarized as follow:

  • Heat the mixture of Powdered Limestone, Clay, and sand in a Rotating kiln till 1450 degree C to form a clinker
  • Cool it and grind it

Along with this, it should be considered that different additives are mixed during and after the manufacture of Clinker to give each type of cement its distinct properties. 

The manufacturing process of Concrete

The manufacturing process of concrete is much simpler than cement. Since a lot of them are made on-site, the process needs to be simple. The process is:

  • Mix Portland Cement and water on a specific ratio (depending on the concrete type) 
  • Mix with aggregates

Now it should be noted that depending on the usability and need, concrete can be mixed either manually or using concrete mixing machines. There are different types of concrete mixing machines as well. We have covered this in another article which will be linked at the end.

3. Uses 

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences

This is where the confusion begins. Both cement and concrete are building materials that are used in building stuff. Both of them are often used at the same time so for those who are not aware, it can be a bit hard to tell the difference between cement and concrete if they just watch the building. For most, they are the same – but they are not.

Uses of Cement

The primary use of cement is to function as a binder. Cement by itself is a rather weak building material so it is mixed with other materials. The primary uses of cement are:

  • In mortar for plastering, masonry, and pointing
  • For making joints for drains and pipes
  • To make things watertight
  • Used to make concrete
  • Used as primary protection against elements on exposed structure surfaces
  • To make pipes, piles, and fencing posts

Uses of Concrete

Concrete is stronger than cement and is easily chosen over wood as the main support of a building. While it can function as primary support itself, it is often reinforced with steel to increase its strength. Some other uses of Concrete are:

  • To make floor
  • To make buildings
  • For easy repairs on the buildings

So the main purpose and use of concrete are to be used in a building where a strong floor or a wall is needed. 

4. Properties

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences

We have talked about some properties of cement and concrete time and again so far. Since concrete also has a large part of cement in it, it shares a lot of the same properties as well. But although they share similar properties, they don’t share:

Let’s see what these properties are.

Properties of cement

Cement is a power and is something that needs to be mixed with water and set in order to have any functionality on its own. That being said, it also hardens once it is set and has some strength to it once this happens. Since it is a building material it needs to pass rigorous tests. The tests are done on the basis of the following properties:

  • Fineness 
  • Soundness
  • Setting time
  • Strength
  • Heat of Hydration

Properties of Concrete

In a completely different way from cement, concrete is a building material that can be used on its own. It needs to be strong and durable enough for it to be used in buildings. As such the viability of concrete is measured based on the following properties:

  • Durability
  • Density
  • Strength
  • Porosity
  • Fire resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Insulation 

So as you may have noticed, the measured properties of concrete have less to do with binding and more to do with strength and taking on damage.

5. Types 

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences

As you may have guessed from some hints that we have given throughout this article, there are different types of cement and concrete. Since this fact is advertised rather widely a lot of people know this. But did you know that there are different types of concrete as well? 

Types of cement

The types of cement are determined on the basis of their chemical resistance, their setting time, their strength, and their ingredients. These types are:

  • Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)
  • Portland Slag Cement (PSC)
  • Rapid Hardening Cement (RHC)
  • Extra Hardening Cement
  • Low Heat Cement
  • Sulphate Resisting Cement
  • Quick Setting Cement
  • High Alumina Cement
  • White Cement

Types of Concrete

Since a major ingredient of concrete is cement, the type of cement you use will also determine the type of concrete as well. On top of this, the addition of sand also helps in further differentiating the type variety as well. These types are:

  • Normal Strength Concrete
  • Plain or Ordinary Concrete
  • Reinforced Concrete
  • Prestressed Concrete
  • Precast Concrete
  • Lightweight Concrete
  • High-Density Concrete
  • Air-Entrained Concrete
  • Ready-Mix Concrete
  • Volumetric Concrete
  • Decorative Concrete
  • Rapid-Set Concrete
  • Smart Concrete
  • Pervious Concrete
  • Pumped Concrete
  • Limecrete
  • Roll Compacted Concrete
  • Glass Concrete
  • Asphalt Concrete
  • Shotcrete Concrete

As you may have noticed the types of concrete outnumbers the types of cement. As we mentioned, when sand is added to the equation, it helps one to create different types as per the need.

So these are the major difference between cement and concrete. For those who couldn’t catch all of these ups, here is a tabular representation of the differences. 

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences
CementConcrete
IngredientsAluminaMagnesiaIron OxideCalcium SulfateSulfur TrioxideAlkalineCementAggregateAirSandAdmixtures
Manufacturing ProcessHeat the mixture of Powdered Limestone, Clay, and sand in a Rotating kiln till 1450 degrees Celciusdegrees to form a clinker
Cool it and grind it
Mix Portland Cement and water on a specific ratio (depending on the concrete type) 

Mix with aggregates
UsesIn mortar for plastering, 
masonry, and pointing
For making joints for drains and pipes
To make things watertight
Used to make concrete
Used as primary protection 
against elements on exposed structure surfaces
To make pipes, piles, and fencing posts
To make floor
To make buildings
For easy repairs on the buildings
PropertyFineness 
Soundness
Setting time
Strength
Heat of Hydration
Durability
Density
Strength
Porosity
Fire resistance
Chemical resistance
Insulation 
TypesOrdinary Portland Cement (OPC)
Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)
Portland Slag Cement (PSC)
Rapid Hardening Cement (RHC)
Extra Hardening Cement
Low Heat Cement
Sulphate Resisting Cement
Quick Setting Cement
High Alumina Cement
White Cement
Normal Strength Concrete
Plain or Ordinary Concrete
Reinforced Concrete
Prestressed Concrete
Precast Concrete
Lightweight Concrete
High-Density Concrete
Air-Entrained Concrete
Ready-Mix Concrete
Volumetric Concrete
Decorative Concrete
Rapid-Set Concrete
Smart Concrete
Pervious Concrete
Pumped Concrete
Limecrete
Roll Compacted Concrete
Glass Concrete
Asphalt Concrete
Shotcrete Concrete

So with this, you have hopefully understood the difference between cement and concrete. They look similar – gray and white once dried, but are the complete words apart. They are different in every way from what they are made to the places they are used on.

Cement and Concrete- 5 Shocking Differences

It should also be noted that the quality of cement affects the quality of concrete. So be sure to buy cement from well-known brands like Shivam cement and Jadamba groups – those that have been tried and tested. 

We hope that this was helpful for you. And as always thank you for reading till the end. If you have any suggestions for us do let us known them in the comment.

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