Cement / What, why & where :

What, why & where

Cement is a glue which acts as a hydraulic binder, i.e. it hardens when water is added. It is primarily used to bind fine sand and coarse aggregates together in concrete.  

Whilst everyone knows the word cement, it is often confused with concrete or mortar. Cement is a key ingredient in both concrete and mortar, and it is always mixed with other materials before use:

  • Cement mixed with water, sand and gravel forms concrete, which is what the vast majority of cement is used for.
  • Cement mixed with water, lime and sand forms mortar.

Cement and concrete have been used to build durable structures for quite some time. Thanks to the special binding properties of cement, concrete is a very resilient, durable material that can bear heavy loads and resist environmental extremes.

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Cement / Product standards :

Product standards

The following are the two main standards which apply to cement and concrete:

Cement: European cement standard EN 197-1 Cement – Part 1: “Composition, specifications and conformity criteria for common cements” which defines 27 distinct common cement products and their constituents. These 27 products are grouped into the following categories:

  • CEM I Portland cement (>95% clinker)
  • CEM II Portland-composite cement (65-94% clinker)
  • CEM III Blastfurnace cement (5-64% clinker)
  • CEM IV Pozzolanic cement (45-89% clinker)
  • CEM V Composite cement (20-64% clinker)

Concrete: European concrete standard EN 206-1 Concrete – Part 1: “Specification, performance, production and conformity” applies to concrete for structures cast in situ, precast structures, and precast structural products for buildings and civil engineering construction.

Useful links: CEN/TC 51 - CEN/TC 104 - National Standardisation Bodies (including purchasing of standards)