What is cement made of?

People often misuse the words cement and concrete.  For example a “cement sidewalk” is really made of concrete.

Cement is the fine, gray powder that is mixed with water, sand and crushed rock or gravel to make concrete.  The cement and water from a paste that hardens as it dries, and binds the sand and gravel together into the hard, rocklike mass we use in building tail skyscrapers, smooth sidewalks and large bridges and dams.


Cement is made from lime and other materials, such as silica, alumina, iron and gypsum.   The lime used to make cement comes mainly from a rock called limestone.

Cement is made by burning crushed limestone with the other materials.  The heat changes the mixture into a new material called “clinkers.”  The clinkers are then finely ground into the gray, powdery cement.  After this, it is ready for use in masking concrete.

Before the concrete is mixed, workmen must measure the proper amounts of sand, gravel and water with the cement to give it the proper strength.  When first mixed, the wet concrete, called a “batch,” can be poured into molds of almost any shape.  It quickly hardens into a solid mass as hard as natural stone. – Dick Rogers

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