- In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together.
- The word “cement” traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concretethat was made from crushed rock with burnt lime as binder.
- The volcanic ash and pulverized brick additives that were added to the burnt lime to obtain a hydraulic binder were later referred to as cementum, cimentum, cäment, and cement.
- Cement used in construction is characterized as hydraulic or non-hydraulic.
- Hydraulic cements harden because ofhydration, chemical reactions that occur independently of the mixture’s water content; they can harden even underwater or when constantly exposed to wet weather.
- Non-hydraulic cements e.g. gypsum plaster must be kept dry in order to retain their strength.
- The most important uses of cement are as an ingredient in the production of mortar in masonry, and of concrete, a combination of cement and an aggregate to form a strong building material.
- It is uncertain where it was first discovered that a combination of hydrated non-hydraulic lime and a pozzolan produces a hydraulic mixture, but concrete made from such mixtures was first used by the Ancient Macedonians.
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