Difference Between Cement And Concrete

The difference between cement and concrete lie in its individual definition. Most of the new beginner in the field of civil engineering do a misconception of considering cement and concrete as one similar term. In this article, we are going to discuss on various factors that will govern the fundamental difference between cement and concrete. We will give you a proper picture of how these terms are different from each other. Before going into the meta concept of cement and concrete, we have to know the definition of these two terms.

cement and concrete

Cement is adhesive or binder material like lime, which works as an adhering material and gives the required concrete strength to the mix that is used for binding of components of the structure. The main components of cement are lime or calcium oxide, silica, alumina, iron and gypsum which combines to form a super adhering substance like concrete when aggregate besides with water is used. Whereas concrete is the mixture of adhesive material, sand, aggregate and water. With the coming of new technologies and innovations the addition of admixture has brought a new revolution in the field of concrete technology and made concrete an excellent binder for binding the components of a structure.

Although the difference between cement and concrete are established from its fundamental definition, but it is necessary to know some of the other governing factors that will build a far more sharp picture of the difference between the cement and concrete.

Distinguish between Cement and Concrete

S. No.CementConcrete
1.The word cement is derived from the native Roman word “opus caementicium” used to describe masonry resembling modern concrete.The word concrete comes from the latin word “concretus” meaning compacting or condensed substance, the perfect passive particle of “ “concrescrere”, from “con-together and crescere-to grow”.
2.Cement is found in the form of fine particles.Concrete is composite material generally composed of cement, fine aggregate like sand and coarse aggregates like stone or gravels and water for hydration.
3.Cement is an excellent binding material that which gives greater strength to the structure as compared to other binding materials like lime.Concrete is a solid mass that takes the form of a structure when it gets harden.
4.Cement is a binding material that is used to bind the various other components of concrete or mortar.Concrete is not a binding material, in fact, the binding material like cement help in the formation of concrete structure.
5.About 10% of the total weight of the cement is made of particles larger than 50 microns.Concrete is a hardened mass of slurry, composed of a binding material, fine aggregate, coarse aggregate in the presence of water.
6.The particle size distribution of the cement mostly affects the hydration rate of the cement.As concrete is a hardened mass of slurry thus there is no particle size distribution. The strength of the concrete depends upon the concrete mix design.
7.Cement is manufactured in cement manufacturing plants under various standard specifications.Concrete is prepared either on a site called as in-situ or prepared in concrete manufacturing plant called as ready-mixed concrete.
8.The specifications of cement are done on the basis of their extent to resist compressive force.The specifications of concrete are done on the basis of their extent to resist compressive force.
9.There are three basic grades of available in the market which is being sold by under different brand names. These grades are Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) – 43, OPC- 53 and Portland Pozzolana Cement.Different grades of concrete are M5, M10, M15, M20, M25, M30, M35 etc.
10.The compressive strength of cement is measured in MPa. Thus the OPC- 43 cement have a compressive strength of 43 MPa and likewise the OPC-53 have a compressive strength of 53 MPa.The compressive strength of concrete is also measured in MPa.
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Composition of Cement and Concrete   

As we have already discussed the component of the composition of the cement and concrete but now we are going to take a more distinct look at this factor because this will clarify the production of cement and concrete.


Cement is manufactured by the process of crushing, milling and proportioning the following material in the correct proportion as given below.

  1. SiO2 content about 21.9%
  2. Al2O3 content 6.9%
  3. Fe2O3 content 3%
  4. CaO content 6.3%
  5. MgO content 2.3%
  6. SO3  content 7%

Apart from the components as mentioned above, there are additive substances like silica fume, fly ash,  which is also used to provide addition strength to the cement but these types of cement are usually manufactured for some special purposes. Among all the cement varieties Portland cement is the most widely available and manufactured cement variety, this is because most of the low and medium scale structural erection are done or can be performed by using Portland cement. One of the recent technological advancement in the manufacturing cement that brought revolution in this field is the introduction of green cement. The growing environmental concern and increasing a cost of fossil origin have resulted in many countries to take up the option green cement.

Green cement is a cement, which is a cementitious material that meets or exceeds the functional requirements and performance capabilities of ordinary Portland cement by incorporating and optimizing recycled materials, thereby reducing consumption of natural raw materials, water, and energy, resulting in a more sustainable construction material and satisfying the requirements of construction green building. Moreover, the introduction of green cement has also reduced the overall emission of carbon from the cement plant, as in 2010, the world production of hydraulic cement was 3,300 million tonnes.

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Over the years, the formulation of concrete has changed to extend great formulating from limestone and granite concrete to Portland cement concrete. To know the manufacturing of concrete, we need to know the composition of concrete, which primarily consists of adhesive or cementitious material like or Portland cement, fine aggregates like sand, coarse aggregate, and water for the purpose of hydration. Additive or admixtures have also found its existence in the composition of concrete as they enhance the strength of concrete and gives additional properties to the concrete. Moreover, the strength of concrete depends upon the concrete mix design which allows the concrete to attain a certain level of formidable strength without the involvement of additives.

Cementitious material:

fly ash powder

Fly Ash

Cement most commonly, Portland Cement is associated with the general term concrete. A range of material can be used as the cement in concrete. One of the most familiar of these alternative types of cement is asphalt concrete. Other cementitious material such as fly ash and slag cement, are sometimes added as a mineral with the cement or directly as a particular component and become a part of the binder for the aggregate.

Fine aggregate:

Fine Aggregate

The most commonly used fine aggregate is sand, but now a days the usage of crushed stone as a fine aggregate in place of sand as they are readily available in stone curry.


Coarse aggregate:

coarsed aggregateIn coarse aggregate for the composite mix of concrete stone and gravels finds the best use. Till now no other alternative has come into existence.

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Admixture or additives:

The admixture is an important component of the composition of concrete because it provides additional property to a conventional concrete and allows it to be used according to the requirements. Some of the most commonly used admixtures are fly ash, silica fume, but apart from these, there are three additives retarders, accelerators, and air-retaining agents which influence the overall property of concrete.

Concrete with retarder admixture is less prone to the quick setting time of concrete. Retarding admixtures are used to slow down the rate of setting time of concrete and the slow rate of initial setting time allows the concrete to stay in its current state for a longer duration of time before it gets to its hardened state. Accelerators are used to accelerate the strength development of concrete within a short period. It expedites the process of hydration of concrete which ultimately allows the concrete mix an early strength as compared to ordinary concrete. On the other hand, air-retaining additives is a special additive that can be used for a variety of conditions.

These agents are blended with cement during the time of manufacturing or added at the mixing site, but when added to the site, the agent is added to the water used in the mix. The main objective behind the development of air-retaining cement has checked the problem of freeze-thaw action and scaling caused by chemical applied for severe frost and ice removal.

The difference between cement and concrete could be established from this, even though they are sometimes correlated. The difference between cement and concrete is a vital topic to be emphasized as they go side by side.

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