Concrete is a composite material made of aggregates (stone, sand) which are held together by an adhesive material. Cement is one kind of adhesive or binding material which binds the aggregates of concrete altogether. So, cement is an element of concrete. Asphalt can also be used as a binding material instead of cement.

Cement vs Concrete

Cement and concrete have several differences. Sources of main differences between concrete and cement are definition, composition, working mechanism, uses, types, etc.

In the following table the main differences between cement and concrete are given:

1 Definition

Cement is an adhesive or binding material.

Read more: What is Cement? 

Concrete is a composite material which is the mixture of coarse & fine aggregates and a binding material like asphalt or cement.

Read more: What is Concrete?

2 Composition

Ingredients of cement are Lime, Alumina, Silica, Magnesia, Iron oxide, Calcium Sulfate, Sulfur Trioxide, and Alkaline.

Read more: 8 Main Cement Ingredients & Their Functions

Ingredients of concrete are stone, sand, and cement. Stone and sand are used to provide strength. Adhesive materials like cement, lime, asphalt are used to glue the aggregates. Sometimes admixtures also used to control the time of settlement.

Read more: Composition of Concrete

3 Working Mechanism

When cement is mixed with water, a hydration reaction occurs and forms hardened cement paste. During the hydration two reactions take place. The first reaction causes the cement to set. Then the second reaction causes the cement to harden and forms tobomite gel. Tobomite gel is the main bonding material that glued the aggregates altogether.

A combination of coarse and fine aggregate is used. Fine aggregates are used to fill the voids of the coarse aggregate. Cement or asphalt is used to bind those aggregates. Proper gradation of coarse and fine aggregates is necessary to achieve strength. The water-cement ratio is one of the important factors for concrete. Concrete gains strength with time.

4 Uses

Cement is used to hold the aggregates of concrete altogether.

Read more: 9 Uses of Cement

Concrete is used to provide compressive strength to the building elements like slab, beam, column, footing, etc.

Read more: 25 Different Uses of Concrete

5 Types

Followings are the types of cement:

  1. Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)
  2. Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)
  3. Rapid Hardening Cement
  4. Quick Setting Cement
  5. Low Heat Cement
  6. Sulphate Resisting Cement
  7. Blast Furnace Cement
  8. High Alumina Cement
  9. White Cement
  10. Colored Cement
  11. Air Entraining Cement
  12. Expansive Cement
  13. Hydrophobic Cement

Click on any of the types to read more.

Based on the variations in materials and purposes, concrete can be classified into three basic categories-

  1. Lime Concrete
  2. Cement Concrete
  3. Reinforced Cement Concretes

In general, there are four concrete sorts to settle on from counting on the work being done. Such as-

  1. Dry Ready Mix
  2. Ready Mix
  3. Bulk Dry Materials
  4. Transit Mix

 There are various types of concrete for different applications that are created by changing the proportions of the main ingredients. Such as:

  • Regular Concrete
  • High-strength Concrete
  • Stamped Concrete
  • High-Performance Concrete
  • Self-consolidating Concretes
  • Vacuum Concrete
  • Shotcrete
  • Roller-Compacted concrete
  • Glass Concrete
  • Asphalt Concrete
  • Rapid Strength Concrete
  • Polymer Concrete
  • Limecrete
  • Light-Transmitting Concrete

Read more: Types of Concrete



Please note that the information in is designed to provide general information on the topics presented. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional services.


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