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What is Cement?

Cement is a versatile chemical compound that has provided several options for construction in this modern age. Cement is manufactured by heating a mixture of limestone, laterite, clay and other materials, in a definite proportion, at 1450℃. At this temperature clinker is formed which on cooling is ground with gypsum to obtain OPC Cement (Ordinary Portland Cement). If at the time of grinding, fly ash or Slag is added then we get PPC Cement (Portland Pozzolana Cement) or PSC Cement (Portland Slag Cement) respectively.

What Is The Role Of Cement In Construction And What Are Its Desirable Attributes?

Cement is a chemical compound that gives physical form to your dream house, ensuring it is strong and durable. The higher compressive strength of cement, the better will be its capacity to bind construction materials like sand, aggregates, bricks and steel together. Further, good quality cement, while undergoing hydration (reaction of cement with water) produces less heat of hydration and lesser lime (leaching). This results in strong concrete, which has reduced tendency to crack and is durable. Hence, only branded and quality cement be used for construction.

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Did You Know

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Using less or more cement than required, adversely affects the strength and durability of the structure.
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Each cement (whether different type or from a different source) has unique water requirements for complete hydration and imparting minimum required workability. Blended cements like PPC and PSC require less water, as compared to OPC to produce the concrete of same workability. Using less than or more than the required quantity of water, adversely affects the concrete strength and durability.
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The rate of hydration of cement in concrete / mortar depends on the ambient temperature. At high ambient temperature, the rate of hydration and rate of strength gain is fast. Under cold weather conditions, when the ambient temperature is low, the rate of hydration and rate of strength gains are reduced.
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Cement should always be stored in a weatherproof area, so it is protected from moisture. In order to protect the cement from dampness, it should be stacked on wooden planks.
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Concrete for structural works should be made with cement of latest batch (Always refer to the week, month and year of manufacture on the bag). While using stored cement, apply the ‘first in, first out’ principle, i.e. use the oldest cement first.
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Advantages of Blended (PPC, PSC and CC) Cement over Ordinary Portland Cement

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Blended Cements have lower water demand with which concrete of good workability can be prepared with less water. This results in strong, dense, impermeable and durable concrete.

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The cement water paste made with blended cements is more cohesive and has better plasticity, which prevents segregation in concrete and at the same time exhibits better finishing characteristics.

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Blended cements have lower heat of hydration as a result the concrete and mortar made from it has a reduced tendency to crack.

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The reactive silica present in PPC and CC readily reacts with the lime produced during hydration of cement and this pozzolanic reaction results in long term strength gain and higher compressive strength.

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The pozzolanic activity is a long-term reaction, which continues for years and makes the structure denser and impermeable. Consequently, the reinforcement steel, embedded in concrete, has better protection from moisture and corrosion.

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