Different types of cement

Cement, a binding material that brings aggregates and reinforcing materials together, has undergone development in terms of quality and types with the advancement of technology. Different types of cement are available for various construction works.

Types of cement

Types of Cement

Classification based on Hardening and Setting Time:

Cement is classified into two categories depending on the hardening and setting mechanism as follows, 

  1. Hydraulic Cement
  2. Non-hydraulic Cement

1.     Hydraulic Cement

Hydraulic cement hardens and sets by reacting with water. It is the most common type of cement used in construction. The raw materials used to produce hydraulic cement include limestone, clay, and gypsum. These materials are heated at a high temperature to manufacture hydraulic cement. It forms a water-resistant product and is classified under ASTM C150.

2.     Non-Hydraulic Cement

Non-hydraulic cement does not require water for hardening. Instead, it hardens with the help of carbon dioxide from the air. Dry conditions are necessary for its hardening process. Lime, gypsum plasters, and oxychloride are the raw materials used to produce non-hydraulic cement. An example of non-hydraulic cement is slaked lime.

By understanding the types of cement based on hardening and setting time, construction professionals can choose the appropriate cement for their specific projects. Whether hydraulic cement is required for its water-resistance properties or non-hydraulic cement for its ability to harden in dry conditions, selecting the right type of cement is crucial for ensuring the durability and strength of the structures.

Classification based on Composition and Characteristics:

In addition to hydraulic and non-hydraulic cement, there are several other types of cement based on their composition and characteristics. Some of these include:

  • Portland cement
  • Blended cement
  • Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)
  • Rapid Hardening Cement
  • Quick Setting Cement
  • Low Heat Cement
  • Sulphate Resisting Cement
  • Blast Furnace Cement
  • High Alumina Cement
  • White Cement
  • Colored Cement
  • Air Entraining Cement
  • Expansive Cement
  • Hydrophobic Cement
  • Oil Well Cement

Brief descriptions of these cement types with their uses are given below.

1.     Portland Cement:

This is the most common type of cement used in construction. It is made from a mixture of limestone, clay, and gypsum and is known for its strength and durability.


2.     Blended Cement:

Blended cement is made by blending Portland cement with other materials such as fly ash, silica fume, or blast furnace slag. This type of cement offers improved workability and reduced heat generation during hydration.

3.     Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC):

  • OPC is widely used in usual construction work.
    • It consists of at least two-thirds by mass of calcium silicates, along with aluminium- and iron-containing clinker phases and other compounds.
    • The ratio of CaO to SiO2 should be at least 2.0.
    • The magnesium oxide content (MgO) should not exceed 5.0% by mass.
    • It is commonly used for general construction purposes and masonry works.

The composition of Ordinary Portland Cement:

  • Argillaceous or silicates of alumina (clay and shale)
  • Calcareous or calcium carbonate (limestone, chalk, and marl)

Uses of Ordinary Portland Cement

  • It is used for general construction purposes.
  • It is also used in most of the masonry works.

4.     Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)

·       PPC contains pozzolanic materials, which are natural or synthetic materials containing reactive forms of silica.

·       These materials react with calcium hydroxide generated during the hydration of cement, forming additional cementitious materials when finely divided.

·       The composition of PPC includes OPC clinker, gypsum, and pozzolanic materials such as fly ash, volcanic ash, and calcined clay or silica fumes.

To known the different between OPC and PPC click here>>>>

Uses of Portland Pozzolana Cement

·       PPC is used in hydraulic structures, marine structures, construction near the seashore, dam construction, etc.

·       It is also used in pre-stressed and post-tensioned concrete members, decorative and art structures, and the manufacture of precast sewage pipes.

5.     Rapid Hardening Cement

·       In Rapid Hardening Cement, finely grounded Tri-calcium silicate (C3S) is present in higher content, which allows it to gain strength more quickly than Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC).

·       It has an initial setting time of 30 minutes and a final setting time of 600 minutes.

Uses of Rapid Hardening Cement

·       Rapid Hardening Cement is commonly used in situations where rapid construction is needed, such as the construction of pavements and structures requiring high strength.

6.     Quick Setting Cement

·       Quick Setting Cement is a type of cement that sets in a very short time.

·       It has an initial setting time of 5 minutes and a final setting time of 30 minutes.

·       The composition of Quick Setting Cement includes clinker and aluminum sulfate, which enhances the hydration rate of silicate.

Uses of Quick Setting Cement

·       Quick Setting Cement is used in underwater construction, rainy and cold weather conditions, and high-temperature environments where water evaporates easily.

·       It is also used for anchoring or rock bolt mining and tunneling.

7.     Low Heat Cement

Low Heat Cement is a special type of cement that produces low heat of hydration during the setting process.

The chemical composition of Low Heat Cement is modified to reduce the heat of hydration.

It contains a low percentage (5%) of tricalcium aluminate (C3A) and a higher percentage (46%) of declaiming silicate (C2S).

Uses of Low Heat Cement

  • Low Heat Cement is used for the construction of large footings, large raft slabs, wind turbine plinths, and chemical plants.

9. Sulphate Resisting Cement

Sulphate Resisting Cement is used to resist sulfate attacks in concrete structures.

It contains a lower percentage of tricalcium aluminate, which reduces the production of calcium sulpho-aluminates.

Uses of Sulphates resisting Cement

  • Sulphate Resisting Cement is used in construction in contact with soils or groundwater containing high levels of sulfate salts. It is also used in concrete surfaces subjected to alternate wetting and drying, such as bridge piers, structures in the tidal zone, aprons, and buildings near the seacoast.
  • It is also suitable for use in effluent treatment plants, chimneys, chemical industries, water storage areas, sumps, drainage works, cooling towers, as well as coastal protective works like sea walls, breakwaters, and tetrapods..

10.     Blast Furnace Cement


·       Blast Furnace Cement is made by combining Portland cement clinker and granulated blast furnace slag, with a maximum slag content of 65%.

·       It is highly resistant to sulfate attacks, making it suitable for construction in seawater environments.


Uses of Blast Furnace Cement

  • Blast Furnace Cement is commonly used in the construction of marine structures, such as harbor walls, offshore platforms, and underwater foundations.

11.  High Alumina Cement

·       High Alumina Cement is manufactured by mixing calcined bauxite and ordinary lime with clinker during the production of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC).

·       The alumina content in High Alumina Cement should not be less than 32%, and the ratio of alumina to lime by weight should range between 0.85 to 1.30.

Uses of High Alumina Cement

  • It is used in applications where concrete structures are exposed to high temperatures, such as in workshops, refractories, and foundries.
  • High Alumina Cement is also suitable for use in environments where concrete is subjected to frost and acidic conditions.
  • It also used where the concrete is subjected to frost and acidic action.

12.  White Cement

·       White Cement is similar to Ordinary Portland Cement, but it has lower amounts of iron oxide and manganese oxide, resulting in its distinctive white color.

·       Due to its higher cost compared to OPC, White Cement is primarily used in decorative applications.

Uses of White Cement

  • It is commonly used for architectural and decorative concrete work, such as in the construction of facades, sculptures, and elegant interior designs.
  • White Cement can also be used for traffic barriers, tile grouts, swimming pools, roof tile patching, and terrazzo surfaces.

13.  Colored Cement

·       Colored Cement is produced by grinding suitable pigments with Ordinary Portland Cement.

·       The type of pigments used depends on the desired color.

Uses of Colored Cement

·       Colored Cement is mainly used for decorative purposes, allowing for the creation of vibrant and aesthetically pleasing concrete structures.

·       It finds applications in the construction of decorative walkways, stamped concrete surfaces, and artistic architectural elements.

14.  Air Entraining Cement

·       Air Entraining Cement is designed to introduce tiny air bubbles or voids in concrete, providing improved resistance to frost action, fire, scaling, and other defects.

·       It is produced by grinding air entraining materials with clinker, and resinous materials like vinsol resin may be added to the mix.

·       The air voids created by Air Entraining Cement allow for the expansion of water when it freezes, preventing cracking in concrete.

·       While it provides enhanced durability, Air Entraining Cement may not offer high strength in concrete.

Uses of Air-Entraining Cement

·       It is commonly used in areas with very low temperatures, in structures exposed to de-icing chemicals, and in environments prone to sulfate attack.

15.  Expansive Cement

  • Expansive Cement is a type of cement that expands in volume during the hydration process, which can compensate for shrinkage loss in concrete.
  • There are three types of expansive cement: K Type, M Type, and S Type.
  • The raw materials used in these types include Portland cement, anhydrous tetracalcium trialuminate sulfate (C4A3S), calcium sulfate (CaSO4), and lime (CaO).
  • .

Uses of Expansive cement

  • Expansive Cement is commonly used in the construction of pre-stressed concrete components, sealing joints, grouting anchor bolts, and various hydraulic structures

16.  Hydrophobic Cement

Hydrophobic Cement is manufactured by grinding clinkers with a water-repellent film substance, such as Oleic Acid or Stearic Acid, to resist the hydration process during transportation or storage.

The water-repellent film forms a protective layer on the cement particles, preventing them from mixing with water and starting the hydration process. When the cement and aggregate are mixed, these protective layers break and allow for normal hydration, along with some air-entrainment to enhance workability.

Uses of Hydrophobic Cement

  • Hydrophobic Cement is commonly used in the construction of water structures, such as dams and spillways, as well as underground structures like tunnels.

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