Contrary to common belief, cement and concrete are not the same thing.  Cement is, in fact, one of the components of concrete.  So, although it seems basic, we decided to write a short post about what concrete is actually made of.

Concrete is formed of three main components and often has other chemical additives.  The three main components consist of aggregate, cement, and water.

Aggregate is essentially the substance of concrete.  It is usually a mix of gravel, crushed stone, and sand and is held together by cement and water.  Cement, often called Portland cement, is a chemical binder activated by water which holds the aggregate together and allows it to harden.  Cement is usually composed of some combination of oxides of calcium, aluminum, and silicon, which is produced by heating limestone (source of calcium) with clay and gypsum.

Aside from those three main components, different concretes often contain different chemicals called admixtures which achieve certain goals.  Two common admixtures are the accelerating admixture and fly ash.  The accelerating admixture allows the concrete to set more quickly and is often used for jobs where time is an issue.  Fly ash can be used to replace some cement in the concrete and improves the concrete’s workability and makes it easier to give it a concrete finish or concrete polish.

We hope this post was informative.  Give us a call next time you are thinking about a shot blasting job or even if you just want to talk concrete.

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