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Top 10 Types of Cement and Their Uses in Concrete Construction

Jun 17 2020

Varshnee Raj

Cement is a vital building material used in various construction projects. It serves as a binding agent, providing strength and durability to structures. There are different types of cement available, each with its unique properties, uses, and advantages. Understanding the properties and uses is crucial for choosing the right one for specific construction needs. Keep reading to learn more about the various cement types and make informed decisions for your home construction project.

Construction 101: Types of Cement and Their Uses

Grey cement is poured from a half-round pipe into a large orange vessel with a rope tied around its hook

From low-heat cement to blast furnace slag cement, discover the different kinds of cement & their features 

Let us delve into the fundamental aspects of the construction industry. In this segment, we explore the building blocks of construction projects–the different types of cement and their diverse applications. 

Sr. No.

Types of Cement




Low Heat Cement

  • Low heat cement is specifically designed to produce a minimal amount of heat during the hydration process. 
  • It contains a reduced percentage of tricalcium aluminate (C3A) and an increased proportion of dicalcium silicate (C2S). 
  • This composition helps in reducing the heat of hydration.
  • Low heat cement is suitable for large-scale concrete structures that are prone to overheating or cracking easily. 
  • It is prominently used in the construction of gravity dams, bridge abutments, retaining walls, slabs, and piers. 
  • Its slower setting time allows for better workability and reduces the risk of thermal cracking.


Air Entraining Cement

  • Air entraining cement is formulated by incorporating air-entraining agents during the grinding of clinker. 
  • These agents, such as resins, glues, or sodium salts of sulfates, create tiny air bubbles in the concrete mix. 
  • Their presence improves the workability of concrete, enhances its resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, and increases its durability. 
  • Air entraining cement is particularly beneficial in regions with cold climates where freeze-thaw cycles are common. 
  • It is widely used for building highways, bridges, and other structures exposed to harsh weather conditions.


Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)

  • Ordinary Portland Cement, commonly referred to as OPC, is the most widely used type of cement in construction. 
  • It is suitable for general concrete construction and offers excellent strength and durability. 
  • These types of cement are available in different grades, including grade 33, grade 43, and grade 53. 
  • Grade 33 is ideal for plastering.
  • Grade 43 is used for precast and flooring applications 
  • Grade 53 is suitable for high-strength applications such as building roads, bridges, and multi-storey buildings. 
  • OPC is versatile and can be used for various construction purposes, including concrete, mortar, and plaster.


Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)

  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) is made by grinding pozzolanic clinker with Portland cement.
  • It is highly resistant to chemical stimulants on concrete and provides enhanced durability. 
  • Adding pozzolana, such as fly ash or calcined clay, improves the strength and impermeability of these types of cement.
  • PPC is widely used to construct marine structures, sewage works, retaining walls, bridge footings, and masonry mortar production. 
  • Its denser composition makes it an excellent choice for structures that require high strength and resistance to harsh environments.


Hydrographic Cement

  • Hydrographic cement, also known as water-repellent cement, possesses high workability and strength.
  • It is formulated by incorporating water-repelling chemicals during the manufacturing process. 
  • This unique property allows hydrographic cement to repel water, making it unaffected by monsoons or heavy rainfall. 
  • Hydrographic cement is used to form water-related structures such as dams, spillways, water tanks, and water retaining structures. 
  • Its ability to resist water penetration ensures the long-term durability of such structures.


Colored Cement

  • Colored cement is produced by adding mineral pigments to ordinary cement. 
  • These pigments, usually comprising 5-10% of the mixture, impart vibrant colors to the concrete.
  • These types of cement offer a wide range of design possibilities for decorative flooring, pathways, and other architectural elements. 
  • Colored cement is frequently used in landscaping projects, where aesthetic appeal is a priority. 
  • The color options available with colored cement allow for creative and customized designs, enhancing the visual appeal of any construction project.


Quick Setting Cement

  • As the name suggests, quick setting cement sets rapidly and achieves early strength. 
  • It is similar to ordinary Portland cement in terms of strength development but sets at a faster rate. 
  • It is particularly useful in situations where the construction timeline is limited and quick completion is desired. 
  • These types of cement find their applications in projects that require fast-setting concrete, such as underwater structures or in cold and rainy weather conditions.
  • It allows for faster formwork removal, accelerating the construction process and reducing associated costs.


Blast Furnace Slag Cement

  • Blast furnace slag cement is produced by grinding clinker with about 60% slag, a byproduct obtained during steel production. 
  • These types of cement exhibit properties similar to Portland cement and are often used in construction projects where economic considerations are crucial. 
  • It offers good resistance to chemical attacks. 
  • Moreover, it is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cement, as it utilizes a byproduct that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Blast furnace slag cement improves impermeability and durability against chloride and sulfate attacks.
  • It is primarily used in water-retaining structures such as retaining walls, rivers, ports, and tunnels. 
  • It minimizes the heat of hydration for mass concreting projects, preventing thermal cracking and shrinkage. 
  • Additionally, it combats alkali-silica reactions in substructure and piling foundation structure
  • It offers excellent resistance to seawater corrosion and abrasion for marine systems, making it a reliable choice for construction.


Rapid Hardening Cement

  • Rapid hardening is a type of cement that achieves high strength at an early stage.
  • It is produced by finely grinding clinker with a higher content of tricalcium silicate (C3S) than ordinary Portland cement. 
  • Rapid hardening cement is often used when quick strength development is required, such as in the construction of pavements. 
  • It allows for faster project completion and provides high early strength, ensuring the durability and stability of the structures.


White Cement

  • White cement is similar to the Portland type but has a white color. 
  • It is produced using raw materials that are free from iron oxide (Fe2O3) and manganese oxide (MnO2). 
  • White cement is primarily used for decorative purposes. 

  • White cement is used in the fabrication of precast curtain walls, facing panels, terrazzo surfaces, and other architectural applications. 
  • The white color of the cement allows for a clean and elegant finish in various construction projects.

About Cement Grading: