Cement is a fine powder, obtained from the calcination at 1,450°C of a mix of limestone, clay, and iron ore. The product of the calcination process is clinker—the main ingredient of cement—that is finely ground with gypsum and other chemical additives to produce cement.
Cement is the most widely used construction material worldwide. It provides beneficial as well as desirable properties, such as compressive strength (construction material with highest strength per unit cost), durability, and aesthetics to a variety of construction applications.
Some properties of cement-based products are:
|Hydraulic||The hydration reaction between cement and water is unique: the material will set and then harden. Interestingly, the hydraulic nature of the reaction allows hydrated cement to harden even under water.|
|Aesthetic||Prior to setting and hardening, hydrated cement exhibits plastic behavior. Therefore, it can be cast into molds of different shapes and forms, and can generate aesthetically interesting architectures difficult to achieve with other construction materials.|
|Durable||When properly used (e.g., good concrete mix design practices), cement can yield structures which have a long service life that withstand extreme changes in weather conditions and chemical attack.|
|Acoustic||Cement–based material can provide excellent noise insulation with the appropriate design.|