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Types of Cement for Concrete – Top 15 Cement Types

Types of Cement used in construction are categorised according to their properties, applications, and advantages. Concrete construction involves the use of different varieties of cement, each possessing unique characteristics, benefits, and applications that depend on the materials utilized in their production. This categorization is based on the composition of the materials used in production.

Cement is an integral part of all types of construction ranging from huge skyscrapers, bridges, tunnels, etc to small residential buildings. It is one of the oldest and most used binding materials and an integral ingredient used in the construction sector. There are different types of cement available in the market. Each type of cement has its application depending on its properties. This article is about the cement types mostly used in construction.

15 Types of Cement and Their Uses

Let us have a look at the top 15 cement types widely used in India and other nations. They are,

  • Ordinary Portland cement  
  • Portland pozzolona cement 
  • Portland Slag cement
  • Rapid hardening cement 
  • Hydrophobic Portland cement
  • Low-heat Portland cement 
  • Sulphates resisting Portland cement 
  • Quick setting Cement
  • High alumina cement
  • Masonry cement
  • White cement
  • Coloured cement
  • Expansive cement
  • Air-entraining Portland cement
  •  Hydrographic cement

Ordinary Portland cement (OPC ) – Types of Cement  

OPC stands for Ordinary Portland Cement, which is one of the most commonly used types of cement in construction. It is made from a mixture of limestone, clay, and other materials, heated at high temperatures to produce a fine powder. Mostly, gypsum, calcareous material, and argillaceous substance make up Ordinary Portland Cement. OPC cement has excellent binding properties and provides high compressive strength to the concrete.

Ordinary Portland Cement is versatile and suitable for a wide range of construction applications, including buildings, bridges, and pavements. Ordinary Portland Cement is available in different grades, each with unique characteristics, making it easy to choose the most appropriate type for a specific construction project. Additionally, it has a relatively fast setting time, allowing for faster completion of construction projects. Ordinary Portland cement is more economical and forms a crucial component of high-strength concrete. This kind of cement is well-resistant to deterioration from chemicals, shrinkage, and fractures.

Ordinary Portland Cement
Ordinary Portland Cement

Also read : Best cement of India

Portland pozzolana cement – Types of cement in India

Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) is a type of cement made by combining Portland cement clinker with pozzolanic materials like fly ash, volcanic ash, or silica fumes. contains 15% to 35% pozzolanic ingredients, gypsum, and clinker. The pozzolanic materials improve the workability and durability of concrete and reduce the risk of cracking. PPC is preferred in locations with high moisture content, as it is highly resistant to dampness and corrosion. It is also eco-friendly since it uses industrial waste as a raw material. PPC cement is suitable for a wide range of construction applications, including dams, bridges, and buildings.

PPC has an initial setup time of 30 minutes and an ultimate setting time of 600 minutes. It is appropriate for hydraulic and marine structures. sewage works, and underwater concrete laying, such as bridges, piers, dams, and mass concrete works. because PPC has strong resistance to sulphate attack. PPC has a slower setting time than OPC, which may prolong construction time. Its initial strength is also lower than OPC.

Portland Slag Cement (PSC) -Types of cement for concrete

Portland Slag Cement (PSC) is a type of cement made by blending granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) with Portland cement clinker. The slag is a waste product from steel manufacturing, making PSC an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cement. PSC has excellent workability, durability, and low heat of hydration. It is widely used in construction applications such as dams, bridges, and underground structures. PSC provides high strength and durability, making it a popular choice for high-performance concrete. It is also known for its resistance to chloride and sulphate attacks. It has good compressive strength.

Rapid hardening cement – Types of cement in India

Rapid Hardening Cement (RHC) is a type of cement that attains high strength in a short time. It is made by grinding Portland cement clinker with a higher amount of C3S and a lower amount of C2S. RHC is suitable for emergency repair works and precast concrete components. Its rapid setting and strength gain properties make it ideal for use in cold weather conditions. It has high resistance to chemical attacks. RHC needs less curing time. The strength of rapid hardening cement at the three days is similar to the 7 days strength of OPC with the same water-cement ratio. So it is suitable for formworks, pavements etc. It has more application than OPC because of its early hardening property. Rapid-hardening cement is expensive. 

Hydrophobic Portland cement

Hydrophobic Portland Cement (HPC) is a type of cement that repels water due to its chemical composition. It is made by adding water-repellent chemicals to the cement during the grinding process. HPC is suitable for construction projects in areas with high rainfall or moisture content. It is commonly used in the construction of basements, swimming pools, and water storage tanks. HPC also has increased durability and can resist chemical attacks. It consists of admixtures such as acid naphthene soap, oxidized petrolatum, etc., reducing the melting of cement grains. The strength of hydrophobic cement is similar to OPC after 28 days. This type of cement is expensive. 

Low-heat Portland cement 

Low-heat Portland cement is a type of cement that produces less heat during hydration, which reduces the risk of cracking and improves durability. It is typically used in large concrete structures such as dams, bridges, and high-rise buildings, as well as in mass concrete applications. Because the heat of hydration of this type of cement is 20% less than normal cement. It consists of 5% of tricalcium aluminate and 46% of dicalcium silicate. Therefore it produces low heat of hydration. It has excellent wear, impact resistance and workability. 

Sulphate-resisting Portland cement 

Sulphate-resisting Portland cement (SRPC) is a type of cement designed to resist the effects of sulphates, which can cause concrete to deteriorate. It contains lower levels of tricalcium aluminate, which is the component most susceptible to sulphate attack. SRPC is commonly used in construction projects involving soil with high sulphate content or exposure to seawater.

Quick setting Cement

Quick-setting cement is a type of cement that hardens and gains strength rapidly after mixing with water, usually within 5 to 30 minutes. It is used in situations where the rapid setting is necessary, such as in cold weather or for emergency repairs. However, quick-setting cement may not be suitable for projects requiring longer workability or for structures that need to withstand heavy loads over time. It is a special type of cement manufactured by adding aluminium sulphate and reducing the amount of gypsum. It is applicable for underwater concreting and grouting. The setting time of this cement is less because aluminium sulphate is an accelerating admixture. It is also preferable for concrete repair works, tunnelling etc.

High alumina cement

High alumina cement (HAC) is a type of cement that is made from bauxite and limestone with a high percentage of alumina content, typically over 35%. It sets and hardens rapidly, has high early strength, and can withstand high temperatures and acidic environments. It is commonly used in refractory applications such as furnace linings, precast shapes, and high-temperature concretes. However, HAC is not recommended for structural applications due to its high shrinkage and susceptibility to chemical attacks over time. High alumina concrete attains strength within 24 hours. It can withstand high temperatures and fire. It is applicable in refractory concrete. Rapid hardening cement with an initial and final setting time of about 3.5 and 5 hours, respectively.

Masonry cement

Masonry cement is a type of cement that is specifically designed for use in masonry construction, such as bricklaying and plastering. It is a blend of Portland cement, hydrated lime, and sometimes additional additives such as sand, clay, or other minerals. The addition of hydrated lime improves the workability and durability of the cement, and it also enhances the bond strength between the cement and the masonry units. Masonry cement is commonly used in both exterior and interior masonry applications, such as building walls, chimneys, and decorative stonework. Since it has low strength it is not suitable for structural applications. The cost of masonry cement is less. Also, they have high water retentivity and workability. 

White cement

White cement is a type of cement that is similar to Portland cement, but with a white or light-coloured appearance. It is made from raw materials with low iron content, such as limestone, kaolin, and clay, and is often used for decorative or architectural purposes, such as in terrazzo flooring, precast panels, and ornamental concrete. White cement is also used in applications where colour consistency is important, such as in coloured concrete or mortars, as it can be tinted to various shades. It has similar properties to grey cement in terms of setting time, strength development, and durability. White cement is manufactured by using limestone, clay, oil and gypsum. But they are expensive compared to normal cement. 

Coloured cement

Coloured cement is a type of cement that is produced by adding pigments to the raw materials during the manufacturing process. It is available in a wide range of colours, and the pigments used can be natural or synthetic. Coloured cement is used in decorative concrete applications where aesthetics are important, such as stamped concrete, exposed aggregate, and decorative overlays. It can also be used in architectural concrete, including precast panels, masonry units, and concrete countertops. The colour of the cement can be affected by the curing process, and it is important to use a consistent curing method to ensure the desired colour is achieved. Coloured cement consists of colour pigments like chromium, cobalt, ton oxide, manganese oxide etc which gives them colour. It is preferable for floor finishing, window sills stair treads, and other external surfaces. The number of colouring pigments should about be 5 to 10 per cent. 

Coloured cement
Coloured cement

Expansive cement

Expansive cement is a type of cement that expands during the early stages of hydration. It contains a mixture of Portland cement clinker, gypsum, and an expansive agent, such as calcium sulphate or anhydrite. Expansive cement can expand up to 3% of its original volume, and this expansion can help offset the shrinkage that occurs as the concrete dries and hardens, reducing the risk of cracking. It is commonly used in applications where shrinkage cracking is a concern, such as in large concrete structures, pavements, and bridge decks. However, the expansion can also cause problems if it is not properly controlled, and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use.

  • K-type expansive cement
  • M-type expansive cement
  • S-type expansive cement

The use of expansive cement is in water retaining structures, concrete repairing, large floor slabs, etc. 

Air-entraining Portland cement

Air-entraining Portland cement is a type of cement that contains an air-entraining agent, such as resins, surfactants, or fatty acids, that creates microscopic air bubbles in the concrete. These air bubbles improve the durability of the concrete by reducing the effects of freeze-thaw cycles, as the water trapped in the bubbles can expand and contract without damaging the concrete. Air-entraining Portland cement is commonly used in cold climates or areas with high humidity, where freeze-thaw cycles can cause damage to concrete structures. However, the use of air-entraining agents can also reduce the compressive strength of the concrete, so it is important to properly balance the amount of air entrainment with the desired strength and workability of the concrete. Air-entraining agents like aluminium powder and hydrogen peroxide are added to the cement. 

Hydrographic cement

Hydrographic cement, also known as underwater cement, is a type of cement that can harden and set even when submerged in water. It is specifically designed for use in underwater construction projects, such as building foundations, bridges, and pipelines. Hydrographic cement contains special additives that allow it to set and harden underwater without being affected by the water, and it can also be mixed with accelerators to speed up the setting time. The cement is typically mixed and applied using specialized equipment, such as pumps or tremies, to ensure proper placement and consolidation.