Cement & Concrete

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Cement & Concrete

In its most basic form, concrete is a mix of aggregates and paste. The paste is composed of Portland cement and water, it coats with water, which covers the coarse and fine aggregates. Through a chemical process known as hydrolysis, the paste is able to harden and increase its strength, forming the rock-like mass that we call concrete. This is why concrete companies all over always get high-end concrete because if not it could be bad for the driveway or patio and break.

This is the secret to a unique quality that concrete has: It’s soft and malleable once mixed as well as durable and tough after being hardened.

Concrete’s durability, strength , and affordable cost makes it the foundation of many construction and infrastructure around the world, including houses hospitals, schools and homes along with bridges, airports, highways and railway systems. The most produced material on Earth will continue to be sought-after when, for instance the developing countries become more urbanized, extreme weather conditions require construction materials that are more durable and the cost of other materials for infrastructure is rising.

Sometimes, even professionals in the field of construction incorrectly utilize the words cement and concrete to mean the same thing. Cement is actually a component of concrete. The fine, powder which, when mixed with water gravel, sand (also known as crushed stone (fine fine and coarse aggregate) makes the mass of rock that is called concrete.

The Forms of Concrete

Concrete is manufactured in four different forms, each with its own characteristics and applications.

  1. Ready-mixed concrete is the most widely used type, is responsible for almost three-quarters of all concrete. It’s batched in local plants and then delivered to the well-known trucks that have revolving drums.
  2. Precast concrete is cast in an industrial setting. These products are able to benefit from strict quality control that can be achieved in an industrial plant. Precast products include concrete bricks and pavers to bridge girders and structural components or wall panels. Concrete masonry, a different kind of concrete that is manufactured, might be most well-known for its standard 8-by-8-by-16-inch block. Modern masonry blocks can be transformed into a variety of shapes, designs as well as colors and textures to meet an endless array of building and architectural requirements.
  3. Cement-based materials are products that are not “concrete,” yet share many of its characteristics. The most common materials in this category comprise grout, mortar, and Terrazzo. Soil-cement as well as roller-compacted concrete –“cousins” of concrete are utilized to build dams and pavements. Other products within this category are flowable fill as well as cement treated bases.
  4. A new line of high-tech products uses fibers as well as a specific aggregates to make roof tiles, shake roofing lap siding and countertops.


How Cement is Made



Visit ShapedbyConcrete.com to find out more about how concrete and cement create the world around us.

View an interactive 3D cement plant


Portland cement constitutes the primary ingredient in concrete. Concrete is created by the combination of Portland cement into an emulsion with water which is able to bind with rock and sand to form a solid.

Cement is made by an extremely controlled chemical mixture of silicon, calcium, iron, aluminum and other elements.

Common ingredients used to make cement are limestone, shells, marl or chalk, which is combined with slate, clay, shale blast furnace slag silica sand, as well as iron ore. These materials, when heated to high temperatures, create a rock-like material that is then ground into fine powder we typically think of as.

Bricklayer Joseph Aspdin of Leeds, England created portland cement around the 19th century through the burning of limestone and clay powder on his stove in the kitchen. By using this method he laid the groundwork of an industrial process that transforms literally mountains of clay, limestone and cement rocks as well as other materials into a dust that is so fine it can pass through a sieve that is capable of holding water.

The cement plant labs examine each stage of the production process for portland cement with regular physical and chemical tests. They additionally analyze and test the final product to verify that it meets the industry standards.

The most popular method to make portland cement is using dry process. The first step is to extract the primary raw materials, which include clay, limestone, and other substances. After quarrying, the rock gets crushed. It is a process that involves multiple stages. The initial crushing reduces the rock to a maximum of approximately 6 inches. The rock is then sent to secondary crushers or hammermills for reduction to 3 inches or less.

It is mixed with other components like fly ash or iron ore and mixed with ground and fed into the cement kiln.

The cement kiln is used to heat all the materials to approximately 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit in massive circular steel rotary kilns that are lined with a special firebrick. Kilns can be as large than 12 feet wide, large enough to hold cars and larger often than the 40-story height of a building. The huge kilns are placed with an axis that is slightly angled to the left of the horizontal.

The finely ground raw materials or slurry is taken into the upper part of the furnace. In the lower part is the roaring flamethat is produced by the precisely controlled combustion of coal powdered or oil, alternative fuels or gas with forced draft.

When the material is moved through the kiln, some elements are pushed away as gasses. The remaining elements combine into a brand new substance known as the clinker. Clinker emerges from the kiln as gray balls that are roughly the size of marbles.

Clinker is discharged in a red-hot fashion from the bottom of the kiln, and is brought to a manageable temperature by various coolers. The heated air that is emitted from coolers is then returned to firing kilns. This process helps to reduce fuel consumption and boosts efficiency.

Once the clinker has cooled and then ground, cement plants crush it , then mix it with tiny quantities of limestone and gypsum. It is so fine that one pound is composed of the equivalent of 150 billion grain. Cement is now ready to be shipped to ready-mix concrete companies , to be used in a range types of projects.

While the dry method is the most recent and well-known method of making cement in kilns, many kilns within the United States use a wet process. Both processes are similar, except that when the process is wet, ingredients are crushed using water before being pumped through the furnace.