What is Cement Hydration?

In order to successfully use building material, we need to understand their composition and why it’s important. Just like having all the ingredients to bake a cake doesn’t ensure the perfect cake, certain cement processes also need to take place in a particular order to reach the ideal end product.

Why is it Important?

  • Understanding the formation of concrete and hydration of cement will help you appreciate the process of curing and realize why quality cement is always your best bet
  • Use this information to mitigate the stresses and recognize the risks involved in the cracking of cement
  • Ensure the durability and strength of your concrete.
In layman’s terms - the process in which water causes the hardening of concrete is called hydration. The hydration is a chemical process in which the main compounds in the cement, bond with water molecules and becomes hydration products.

The first step in the hydration of cement is called the dissolution. This is where the cement dissolves and ions are released into the water mixture. This means that the water is no longer just H2O but now a solution of a variety of ionic species. This solution is called the pore solution.

The ionic species concentration of the pore solution increases rapidly when the cement and water are combined. When the concentrations have increased to a point of saturation in the pore solution, the ions are ready to combine into new solid phases (instead of dissolving). These solid phases are called hydration products and they are different from the original, starting cement materials.

The next step in the hydration process, precipitation, relieves the supersaturation of the pore solution and allows the dissolution of the cement minerals to continue. That means that the hydration process is ongoing and allows for a transition zone between the two solid states to be continuous. The process is also influenced by free energy (roughly defined as the thermal and chemical energy) that is contained in the phase, which explains the need for high temperatures in cement manufacturing.

The above-mentioned sounds rather technical, but if that’s your thing. You can read more about the process and reactions involved by following this link.

If you prefer to keep things simple, you can just click here to order your cement and concrete online.



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Andre Mostert:

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