Concrete vs. Cement

What do you mean it’s not the same?

There is a misnomer around the world about the word use of concrete and cement. In defense of the layman the problem arose years ago when the industry itself labeled one of its concrete blocks; cement blocks. How were they to know that the world would use this term in reference to all concrete blocks and to all concrete applications? Why did the industry call their blocks cement blocks to being with?

Early on (1920 – 1950) cement blocks [aka Cinder blocks] were made from the left over ash of combustible coal [aka fly ash]. This ash is mixed with cement and water to form a product that has several good applications but is inferior in tensile strength to the concrete blocks. Concrete blocks rather, are manufactured using Portland cement, water, and a blend of aggregates but not ash.

Cement therefore is an ingredient of concrete. It is a binder substance that is necessary to bind all the materials that make up concrete. Similar to how an egg is an ingredient and the binder for bread. To call bread an egg is simply inaccurate, and yet the world continues to refer to cement trucks, cement drives and cement block homes. The next time you see a children’s book which calls a concrete truck a “cement truck” just know that what would really come out of that truck, if it were cement, would be powder.