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Types Of Cement And Their Uses In Concrete Construction

Types Of Cement

When we look at a construction project that is going on, what we will see is a lot of cement bags. Why is this material required, and how is it used? Cement serves as a binder for concrete, which is the primary material needed for constructing any structure like buildings, bridges, homes, dams, and ports, as well as for creating decorative elements inside and outside a building.

Where Is Cement Needed?

Where Is Cement NeededWhile construction is the main area where cement is used, it also has other purposes. It is mixed with mortar, which is used for plastering and masonry work. It is used to give a structure water tightness and make it immune to destructive weather agents. Surfaces that use it do not react to organic or inorganic chemicals. It is also used for preparing foundations, making precast pipe, and fencing posts. In drains and pipes, it is mixed into the material that is sued in their joints to give them additional strength.

When was it discovered?

It was created by Joseph Aspdin in the 19th century when he heated a mix of limestone that was grounded with clay. The resulting mixture was finely powdered, and this powder could be easily mixed with water, and it would later harden, leading to the evolution of hydraulic cement.

The word cement comes from the Latin word ‘Caementum’, which means rock or fragments in the form of chips. In earlier times, it was limestone that served as binder, wherein it was heated to create lime that was mixed with water and sand for use in construction. In ancient Greece, volcanic tuff taken from Santorini Island was mixed with clay to create mortar. In bygone days, Egyptian workers mixed impure calcinated gypsum for the same purpose. In 27 BC, cement was used in the making of Roman architecture, but this cement was obtained by mixing volcanic ash with lime.

Different Types Of Cement

Ordinary Portland cement

Ordinary Portland cementThis cement is the most commonly used variety in the construction industry because of its very strong bonding qualities. When it is mixed with aggregates and water, the result is a durable mixture, and it is usually made from limestone. Since its discovery in the early 19th century by Joseph Aspdin, it has been used as a key ingredient in stucco, concrete, mortar, and non-specialty grout. It is primarily used in those construction activities that need ordinary cement and where the soil conditions are normal. Hence, you will find it being used in bridges, pavements, and reinforced concrete buildings.

Blended Cement

Blended CementThis cement is created by mixing ordinary Portland cement with blending materials such as slag, milestone, fly ash, and silica fumes. The resultant cement mixture has greater strength and durability and is easier to work with. It will also not succumb to sulphate and chloride attacks. When it is used, it will not need too much water to create a mix, and when dried, it won’t shrink too much either. It is more affordable, and when used, its smooth texture gives better quality of construction and also enables work to be completed faster. It is also eco-friendly because it does not create much carbon emissions or pollutants.

Rapid-hardening cement

Rapid-hardening cementThis cement is produced by heating limestone and shale to extremely high temperatures, which converts them into clinkers. These clinkers are then mixed with a small quantity of gypsum and then grinded, the result of which is rapid-hardening cement. Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) will take seven days to gain strength, but Rapid Hardening Cement takes only three days, which is its specialty. Since it emits heat during setting, it is not to be used in mass concreting projects. It is lighter in weight and more expensive than OPC.

White Cement

This cement is white in colour, and it is produced by mixing together iron and manganese. It is primarily used in bricklaying and is mixed with lime, which is also commonly used on walls to give it a smooth base on which painting can be done. This cement is also largely used for creating decorative elements inside and outside a structure, such as artificial celiging and ornamental pillars. It can be mixed with different colour pigments to create the required colour mixture that serves many decorative purposes. It is also used to do repair work on marble tiles and as a sheathing in walls, roofs, and floors. As it is expensive, it is usually used in the form of precast panels.

Sulphate-Resistant Cement

This cement is a blended variety, and its purpose is to enhance the strength of concrete so that it does not succumb to sulphate attacks. It is commonly used when concrete surfaces have to come into contact with sea water, groundwater, or soil, wherein concrete will be exposed to sulphates in huge quantities that will result in structural damage. It is commonly used when putting down foundations and in piling work. It is also used in effluent treatment plants, chimneys, cooling towers, water storage sumps, and drainage works.

Special Cement Varieties

High-Alumna Cement

High Alumna CementIt is a cement type created by grinding alumina and calcerous material clinkers through either fusing or sintering, and its key feature is its ability to harden very quickly. It is used in those types of construction where the building has to be made from material that will not succumb to chemical attacks. Hence, you can see it being used in construction done in coastal areas for water or sewage pipes. It is also mixed with refractory concrete to give it more strength at a high temperature.

Low-Heat Cement

Low-Heat CementIt is a cement type produced by making a small change to the chemical composition of Portland cement. Its key feature is that it generates low hydration heat at the time of setting. Its most common usage is in the construction of dams and wind turbine plinths. It is also used when making the workroom surfaces of chemical plats. It is very good at enhancing the strength of concrete in later years. It will not succumb to thermal cracking and can resist sulphate attacks.

Expansive Cement

Expansive CementIt is a cement that expands or increases in volume when they are mixed with water. It is used for the purpose of reducing cracking that occurs during drying shrinkage in slabs made from concrete. It is created by mixing ordinary Portland cement with an expanding agent and water. When there is a need to build large continuous slabs without any joints, expansive cement is used in the process. It is also used to fill holes in building foundations. It is used to build structures with water and for anchor belt grouting. It is also used to make Portland cement concrete stronger.

Questions That You Need to Ask Before Buying Any Particular Cement

  • Find out if the quality of your cement purchase is capable of catering to the demands of your
  • Is it one that is sustainable?
  • Is its cost within your set budget constraints? Is it a type that is always available on the market?
  • How is the cement manufactured? Is its production process environment-friendly?
  • Has the cement undergone testing, and does its manufacturing process adhere to quality standards?
  • How do you store the cement variety that you are buying? What are the best techniques for storing
  • What are the different safety precautions to be followed when using the cement that you have chosen?


Cement is the key ingredient in any construction project, and for your project to be successful, you need to select a cement variety that is suitable for it. Look into the properties of various cement varieties to find out what is appropriate for your construction needs. You should also check out which manufacturers are taking steps to prevent their production processes from causing damage to the environment.

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