4 Surprising Facts about Cement

Maurice Bouri has been in the cement business all his life. As the son of Seament founder Alexander Bouri, he learned about cement at a young age—since then, he has remained in the family business and only increased his knowledge and experience. This affordable, adaptable building material still fascinates him today, and he wishes to share his learning on the subject.

Here are four of Maurice Bouri’s favorite facts about cement, which you probably never knew:

1.  Cement and concrete are not the same things – Most people speak of cement and concrete as if they’re the same things, but they’re not. In fact, cement is an ingredient in concrete, and both substances are used for specific applications. Cement is what is known as a binder, a substance that holds other materials together—not unlike glue. That should give you a clear picture of exactly what cement is used for: you could glue two blocks together to make a wall, but you wouldn’t want to build a whole wall out of just glue. Concrete, on the other hand, also includes “aggregate” material that gives the mixture more strength when it dries and hardens. Originally, simple materials like chopped straw were added to cement to make concrete, but today there are a wide variety of additives. This is what allows entire buildings and bridges to be made safely out of concrete.

2.  Concrete is the world’s most necessary building material – Globally, we use more cement-based concrete in a year than any other construction material. It outclasses all other substances, and we use twice as much concrete per year than we use steel, wood, and other construction materials put together. This speaks to the remarkable versatility of concrete, which can be poured into virtually any shape and is used in paving and infrastructure, as well as buildings.

3.  The first cement was used in ancient Rome – Cement is nothing new. Both the word and the idea date back to (at least) ancient Rome. Roman cement was made using lye from ashes. Crushed stone, crushed brick and volcanic ash were also added to help give the substance the right consistency and binding characteristics. The recipe has changed over the past 3,000 years, but the idea is the same.

4.  Cement is still an evolving field – Today, Portland cement is the type of cement most widely used worldwide. However, innovation continues. Variations of concrete have been developed that are resistant to chemicals or even conductive to electricity. And “energetically modified cement” uses a mineral treatment process to make a substitute for Portland cement at a much lower cost.

What parts of your home are made with cement?

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