Back in the early nineteenth century, a British bricklayer named Joseph Aspdin mixed powdered limestone and clay and then burned them in his kitchen stove. The result was the first version of modern cement. Although the terms “cement” and “concrete” are often used interchangeably, cement is manufactured from raw materials and is a component of concrete.
Modern cement mixtures are more complex than Mr. Aspdin’s original recipe of limestone and clay. Along with the original ingredients, today’s cement often includes any combination of chalk, slate, shale, slag, iron ore, sand, and even animal shells. The process begins by crushing the limestone and clay to chunks that are 3 inches or smaller. After adding all the desired ingredients, the mixture is fed into a cement kiln. The kiln heats everything to about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.
The intense heat removes elements in the form of gases. The remaining substance, called clinker, comes out of the kiln looking like gray marbles. Once cooled, the clinker is ground up to a fine powder and other ingredients are added, like gypsum and more limestone. The resulting mixture is cement, ready to be mixed with other ingredients to make concrete.
Once you have cement, it doesn’t take much to make concrete. When water is added to the cement, it makes a paste. When the paste is mixed with aggregates, like sand, gravel and/or crushed stone, the dried result is concrete — the material we use to lay foundations, make roads, build multilevel facilities, set fence posts, and build infrastructure across the globe.
Once the cement and other components create your concrete slab or floor, you’ll have a hard surface to work on jobs, hobbies and life! However, it’s not indestructible, and its look may be less than appealing. Thankfully, West Coast Epoxy can help with those issues. We provide Sacramento and the rest of Northern California with an almost endless variety of epoxy coatings for any concrete floor, no matter what cement was used in the process. Or if you’d prefer, we can merely coat your concrete with a seal or colored stain. No matter how you’d like to protect or improve your concrete, give us a call or schedule an online appointment today for professional assistance in the near future.