What is Cement?

Doug Enright 

Cement and concrete are often confused and interchanged in construction. However, they are not the same thing. Cement is what’s called a binder. A binder is a type of substance that sets, hardens and dries when interacting with Carbon Dioxide. Cement is a type of binder, used in everything from buildings to sidewalks to roads and more. Cement is one of the most commonly used building material. Let’s look at what cement is and how it’s used.

Breaking Down Cement

Cements are often characterized as hydraulic or non-hydraulic. Hydraulic cement utilizes aluminum silcates to active the setting in wet conditions or underwater. It protects the cement from the elements better than non-hydraulic cement. On the other hand, non-hydraulic cement cannot be set in wet conditions or underwater. The type of cement used is based on the scope of the project, where the project is and what type of water is involved.

What is Cement Used For?

Cement is used in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Sidewalks
  • Roads
  • Bricks
  • Construction

Cement is such a widely used material, chances are you interact with it on some level every day. Most sidewalks around the world are made of cement. Since it can stand up to elements and isn’t easily damaged, it holds up to constant walking, biking and force as people travel across it.

While cement is used for roads, it’s rarely used for sustainable roads as it can’t handle the weight loads of vehicles. When cement is used for roads, it’s often a stop gap for a road before a real one can be installed. Cement is also used as a mortar in masonry projects, along with forming concrete, to be used in other types of projects.

Cement is one of those construction materials that, without it, many construction methods wouldn’t be possible today. Cement has been around for centuries, evolving as technology and processes change. However, the basics of cement have stayed the same. Cement is used everyday to make your life easier and without it, things would fall apart. Literally and figuratively. Cement is what brings concrete and other building materials together.

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