People are sometimes confused by the difference between concrete and cement. In the past, both have been used for constructing roads as well as buildings. However, in the modern world, cement is no longer used for pavement, but concrete remains a popular choice.
Concrete and Cement – The Difference
What Is Cement?
Cement is typically made from clay, limestone, shale or chalk. The raw materials are crushed, heated and then mixed with certain minerals such as gypsum to adjust the properties of the cement. For example, the added minerals may enhance the finish, reduce the permeability or make the cement more resistant to sulfates. The dry mix is then shipped to vendors, job sites and concrete companies.
The history of cement is much older than the history of concrete. Naturally occurring cement has been found that is at least 12 million years old. It formed when oil shale and limestone came into contact with each other and experienced the reaction needed to become a form of natural cement. There is evidence that several ancient civilizations used cement for various purposes although their formulas varied. Cement was used for roads into the 1900s, but it was found to lack sufficient durability despite its lengthy drying time.
Today, cement is used as a component in the manufacture of concrete. It is also used in many masonry projects, including brickworks. Portland cement is often used in constructions that will be exposed to water, including lighthouses, bridges and oil rigs.
What Is Concrete?
Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, water and aggregates such as crushed stone or gravel; additives may be used to enhance certain properties of the finished product. The typical mix is from 60 to 75 percent aggregates, between 10 and 15 percent cement and between 15 and 20 percent water. The correct ratio of cement to water is critical; if there is too little cement, the cured paved will be rough and porous, but it there is too much cement, the finished product will be prone to cracking.
Although civilizations before the ancient Romans made some use of concrete, it was the Romans who pioneered its extensive use. Many of famous landmarks, including the Colosseum, aqueducts, the Pantheon and several of the Roman baths, were constructed with concrete.
After the Roman Empire fell, the secret of concrete was seemingly lost for several centuries. The first known instance of modern concrete occurred in 1756; a British engineer added pebbles and crushed brick to cement for a structure he was building. Portland cement, the primary type of cement used in modern concrete, was developed in 1824. The next major development in the concrete industry occurred in 1867 when a patent was issued in France for reinforcing concrete by imbedding metal in the liquid concrete. The use of rebar allowed concrete to support heavier loads without cracking or chipping. Some of the earliest uses of reinforced concrete in the United States included the construction of the Grand Coulee and Hoover dams as well as numerous bridges and skyscrapers. Although the technique has been refined, it is still the basic process used today.
If You Need Concrete Services
LDC Paving provides an extensive range of concrete services to customers in the Houston metropolitan area and nearby counties. Whether you need ADA-compliant ramps, concrete sidewalks, curbs, driveways, parking lots or general concrete repair, our crews have the expertise to deliver exceptional work at competitive rates. We also provide a full range of asphalt-related services, including overlays, paving, repairs and sealcoating. If you have more questions about Concrete and Cement – The Difference, call us at (832) 640-7296 or use the online form.
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