Is Cement an Essential Ingredient of Aggregate?

Learn about how cement is an essential ingredient in aggregate production for creating strong concrete structures.

Is Cement an Essential Ingredient of Aggregate?

Aggregates are inert granular materials such as sand, gravel or crushed stone that, together with water and portland cement, are an essential ingredient in the production of concrete. In its simplest form, concrete is the combination of cement and aggregate. The cement is added to the aggregate in its fluid form. As cement hardens, it bonds with aggregates to create an incredibly strong and durable material known as concrete. Although the terms cement and concrete are often used interchangeably, cement is actually an integral part of concrete.

Concrete is a mixture of aggregates and paste. Aggregates are sand and gravel or crushed stone; paste is water and Portland cement. Portland cement is not a trademark, but rather the generic term for the type of cement used in virtually all types of concrete. Cement makes up 10 to 15 percent of the concrete mix, by volume. Through a process called hydration, cement and a portion of water react and harden, joining the materials into a rock-like mass.

The size of coarse-grated aggregates is the primary factor in determining the strength of your concrete. In general, you'll want smaller coarse-grated aggregates for stronger concrete, with 20mm aggregates meeting the threshold for strong concrete and 40mm aggregates meeting the threshold for normal strength concrete. Since fine aggregates are used to fill the voids of coarse-grained aggregates, the smaller the coarse-grained aggregates, the finer the finer the aggregates should be. This will increase the workability of your concrete. Concrete grows stronger as it ages. Portland cement is not a trade name, but rather the generic term for the type of cement used in virtually all concrete, just as stainless steel is a type of steel and sterling silver is a type of silver.

Through a process called hydration, cement and water harden and bind aggregates together into a rock-like mass. This hardening process continues for years, meaning that concrete strengthens as it ages. If a cement-based product appears to be hard, then you should discard the bag and get a new bag, as it is likely that it has been exposed to moisture and has reacted with water. Aggregates must be solid, clean, hard, durable and free of excessive fines or contaminants that could affect cement hydration or disrupt the paste-aggregate bond. The ratios between coarse-grained and fine aggregates will change depending on the unique characteristics of each aggregate, the method of placement and the desired finish.

A mixture with an excess of cement paste will be easy to place and will produce a smooth surface; however, the resulting concrete will be more likely to crack and will not be economical. For concrete made for foundations or foundations, mix 1 part Cement Australia Builders Cement with 3 parts sand and 3 parts aggregate. Make sure that no puddles of water form on the surface or Sand & cement will come off the voids and your pavers will not hold firmly in position. One way to tell if you have used too much water in your Cement Australia mortar mix is to have the mortar squeezed out of between the brick or block joint as soon as you place a brick or block in the mortar bed. Cement is necessary for strong concrete; however strength can still be preserved when using well-graded aggregates that cost significantly less. Builders Cement is a uniform mixture of Portland cement and fly ash that exceeds the requirements specified in Australian standard AS 3972 for type GB cement.

Concrete made with Builders Cement offers better workability, aging resistance, improves concrete durability performance, and provides a lower carbon footprint. Cement Australian strongly recommends that unless you have experience using special cement products, you seek technical advice before using these products. For road concrete & driveways, mix 1 part Cement Australia Builders Cement with 2 parts sand and 3 parts aggregate. However, to maintain product integrity, cement and cement mix products still contain a plastic coating inside the packaging and must be disposed of as general waste.

Brock Cottew
Brock Cottew

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