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Choosing the cement
Source : The Hindu Property Plus Published On : 2008-02-02 City : Chennai

Different types are available with advancement in research, development and technology, writes PROF. A.R. SANTHA KUMAR.

 

            There is a variety of cement available for the builder. The types of cement in India have increased over the years with the advancement in research, development, and technology. In order to get best performance correct cement type should be used based on the type of structure and the location where it is used in the structure.

 
Major types of cement:
 

The details of major types of cement produced in the country are given below:

     Ordinary Portland cement (OPC): The ordinary Portland cement is popularly known as grey cement or OPC. It is used in all general concrete construction, mass and reinforced concrete.

     Portland Pozolona Cement (PPC): It is cheaper than OPC because it uses fly ash / burnt clay / coal waste as one of the ingredients. PPC has a lower heat of hydration which is of advantage in preventing cracks where large volumes of concrete are being cast.

     Portland Blast Furnace Slag Cement (PBFSC): PBFSC has a heat of hydration even lower than PPC and is generally used in construction of dams and similar massive construction.

     Special Cements: Oil well cement is made from the clinker with special; additives to prevent any porosity.

     Rapid Hardening Portland cement: It is similar to OPC, except that is ground much finer, so that on casting the compressible strength increase rapidly.

     Water proof cement: OPC with small portion of calcium stearate or non-saponifiable material to impart water proofing properties.

          White cement: Basically it is OPC made with clinker using fuel oil (instead of coal) and with iron oxide content below 0.4% to ensure whiteness. It is used to enhance aesthetic value, in tiles and for flooring. White cement is much more expensive than grey cement.

 
Grades of cement:
 

     Even in ordinary Portland cement, we have gradations as 33, 43 and 53.

     These types of cement are suited for all modern types of construction including all kinds of masonry and concrete works such as pre-cast and pre-stressed concrete. They are also suitable for all kinds of repair works in masonry and concrete.

     Blended cement: It is obtained by mixing clinker, gypsum and other inert materials in suitable proportions and grinding the mixture to get a thorough and intimate mix.

     Portland Pozolona Cement (PPC) – Clinker + Gypsum + Pozzolana (Flyash, burnt clay etc).

     Portland blast furnace slag – Cement Clinker + Gypsum + Granulated slag

     Masonry Cement – Cement Clinker + Gypsum + Pozzolana (Limestone Powder admixtures etc.

     In addition, there are various other types of cement such as low heat cement, rapid hardening cement, high early strength cement, sulphated cement, hydrophobic cement, oil well cement, high aluminium cement and masonry cement. Each cement has a specific role to play. The choice of the cement depends on the nature of work, local environment, method of construction etc.

     PPC: Suitable for most of the applications as stated in OPC ideally suited for domestic consumption like plastering, brickwork, mass concreting works like dams, large foundation. This cement enhances impermeability and cohesiveness of concrete. As a result durability is enhanced.

    Slag cement: Common applications are similar to those of OPC. However besides that it has more sulphate resistance properties than OPC and is suitable for coastal construction.

     Sulphate resistant cement: Used in structures in contact with soil or water having enough sulphate concentration.

     Super sulphate cement: it may applied where high sulphate, acid and organic oil attacks on structure is expected.

     High alumina cement: This cement is ideally suited for high temperature.

     In fact, all kinds of cement are one and the same but for minor changes in the characteristics. By and large grade 33 cement would meet the structural requirements of ordinary and small scale consumers. 43 grade cement may be utilised for precast concrete production besides the sleeper manufacturers and other building components producers, 53 grade cement may be utilised by builders of heavy infrastructure such as bridges, flyovers, large span structures and high rise structures. When 53 grade cement is used the heat generated is very high. Hence consumers, believe that it is a better cement when actually it is not so.

     While 53 grade cement is actually the best only for producing concrete of grade 40 and above, it is not to be used in ordinary structures where concrete grade 20 is normally adequate.

     The user should know the advantages of blended cement. The selection of pozzolanic materials has been more stringent and the quality of blended cement is more consistent. Manufacture of blended cement results in substantial savings in energy and product cost. Hence, industry must pass on to the customers the benefits derived to the users of blended cement. Blended cement gives better durability.

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