- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 08 May 2019
Portland cement is used to make almost all concrete. It is also the principal cement used in most masonry mortars and renders. The most commonly used type of Portland cement is Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), but there are other varieties available, such as white Portland cement.
Cement is a substance used for binding and hardening other materials. Water and cement set and harden through a chemical reaction known as 'hydration'. The process of hardening is described as 'curing', and it requires particular conditions of temperature and humidity.
The 'dry' method is the most common way of manufacturing Portland cement. The process begins with the quarrying of the principal raw materials – limestone, clay, chalk or marl, which may be combined with shale, blast furnace slag, silica sand, iron ore, and so on.
The quarried material is then crushed, first to reduce it to a maximum size of approximately 6 inches, and then to about 3 inches or less using secondary crushers or hammer mills. The crushed rock is then ground, mixed and fed into large rotary kilns, which heat it to approximately 2,700ºF (1,500 Celsius). Coolers are used to bring down the temperature of the clinker, before cement plants grind and mix it together with small amounts of gypsum and limestone. Once this is done, it can be packaged and sold for use in construction.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Alkali-activated binders for precast and ready-mixed concrete products: New supply chains, business models and environmental benefits.
- Alkali-silica reaction (ASR).
- Binding agent.
- Cement in Saudi Arabia.
- Fibre cement.
- High alumina cement.
- Lime mortar.
- Mortar analysis for specifiers.
- Portland stone.
- Shotcrete technology.
- Types of cement.
- Types of concrete.
Featured articles and news
And the award winners for 2019 are...
Articles of agreement
Guidance for local authorities and consultancies setting planning conditions.
A real deal – at last?
How does anastylosis help in the reconstructing of ancient monuments?
More than just aesthetic and historic values and meanings.
An exciting and novel collaboration between the RIBA and the SPAB.
Republic of Ireland updates to planning and development.
The different types of pile foundation.
Achieving a net-zero carbon UK by 2050.
Responding to an invitation to tender.