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Types of Cements - Buyer's Guide
Cement is the all powerful binder used in construction materials such as mortar and concrete. There are many varieties of cement available in the market and each type has typical components and properties suited to its use.
You should understand the types of cement and their uses to make an informed choice when selecting cement for your purpose.
Main categories of cement
Cement used in construction can be classified into hydraulic and non-hydraulic cement. Non-hydraulic cement, as opposed to hydraulic cement, does not harden on contact with water. If non-hydraulic cement is used in construction, it has to be kept dry to allow the mortar to dry gradually to gain strength. Due to the problems related with long waits, hydraulic cements are used in modern construction mixes instead of non-hydraulic.
Portland cement is the most common type of hydraulic cement used to prepare concrete. It can be gray or white. A number of cement blends can be created to suit different construction needs.
Types of Portland cement blends
Cement blends are available from the cement manufacturer or can be produced at the concrete mixing plant. Portland cement blends include:
Portland blast furnace cement: This cement blend is a mix of high strength components. It is a cheaper alternative to Portland sulfate-resistant low heat cement and is used in the construction of massive structures such as dams.
Portland fly ash cement: Fly ash being a pozzolanic (siliceous volcanic ash)material, gives ultimate strength to this cement blend. It is a cheaper alternative to ordinary Portland cement in places where good quality fly ash is easily available.
Masonry cement: These cements are mainly used to prepare mortar and stuccos, but not concrete. This mortar can be controlled and worked to allow fast and consistent masonry. Plastic cement and stucco cement are variations of masonry cement.
Expansive cement: These cements counterbalance shrinkage that can happen when hydraulic cement dries. Expansive cements are commonly used in building large floor slabs.
White blended cement: This cement is prepared by mixing white clinker with other white materials. It is costlier than gray cement and is used on floors and tiles for beauty.
Portland pozzolan cement: This blend uses various natural and artificial pozzolanic materials. These cement blends are commonly available in places where volcanic ash is abundantly available such as Philippines, Chile, Mexico, etc. This cement blend is useful in preventing cracks where large volumes are being cast.
Portland silica fume cement: Exposure to silica fumes yields this exceptionally high strength cement blend.
Colored cement: This cement is used for decorative sculpting on walls and floors. It may be marketed as colored Portland cement or blended hydraulic cement.
Finely ground cement: This cement uses 50% less cement than ordinary cement and is easier to fabricate.
Types of Non-Portland hydraulic cements
Varieties of non-Portland hydraulic cements include:
Pozzolan-lime cement: This cement is slow drying but of ultimate strength. Roman structures were made with this cement.
Slag-lime cement: This cement produces more workable mortar, lower permeability, better finish, higher compressive and flexural strength and higher resistance to aggressive chemicals.
Supersulfated cement: This cement has the same strength as slow Portland cement with resistance to aggressive chemical agents.
Calcium aluminate cement: This cement is used to create high temperature resistant mortar for furnace linings and similar structures.
Calcium sulfoaluminate cement: This cement is a low-energy, high early strength alternative to Portland cement.
Natural cement: This cement is prepared naturally by burning argillaceous lime stones. It can have variable properties due to its non-uniform preparation process.
Geop olymer cement: This cement is also called "green cement" as it reduces the emission of carbon dioxide in its production process.
Cement manufacturers follow industry best practices to produce standard cement types and blends. Select the right type of cement for your construction needs. Prices vary with the production brands.