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  • What is Portland Cement?

What is Portland cement? General Chipping has the answer.You’ve probably heard of it. You might even have worked with it. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions. For many people, Portland cement remains a bit of a mystery. If you’ve ever wondered exactly what the substance is, you’re in luck! General Chipping can explain.

Despite the product’s city-specific name, Portland cement is extremely versatile, and the most commonly-used cement today. Cement.org credits the product’s invention to Joseph Aspdin, a bricklayer who, in the 19th century, first created Portland cement by burning powdered limestone and clay inside his kitchen.

Most Portland cement is created using a dry method, which Cement.org describes in simple terms:

  • Workers quarry ingredients such as limestone and clay
  • The quarried materials are crushed, then crushed again until they measure 3 inches or smaller
  • Workers combine the crushed material with things such as iron ore and fly ash
  • The mixture is heated to approximately 2,700 degrees inside a cement kiln
  • Gasses burn off inside the kiln, leaving behind a substance called clinker
  • Clinker emerges from the kiln as marble-sized gray balls
  • Once cooled, workers grind the clinker and mix it with gypsum and limestone
  • The finished product is ready to distribute

Although it begins as a powdery substance, Portland cement forms a sticky paste when combined with water. Thanks in large part to its low-cost ingredients, the product is a strong, cost-effective material perfect for a wide range of projects, from sidewalks, to grout and even stucco.

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