Concrete and aggregates were made for each other — aggregates are the most mined resource in the world and concrete is the most frequently used man-made material! It makes perfect sense that aggregates make up over half of a concrete mixture, but what else goes into making concrete? What kind of aggregate equipment is used in its production? Are cement and concrete the same thing? Let’s find out. 

Cement vs. Concrete

People often use the terms cement and concrete interchangeably. In fact, cement is a key ingredient used to make concrete. Cement is a binder that tightly holds materials together. On its own, cement is not very strong. But, when cement is mixed with water, sand, gravel, and other aggregates, a strong material known as concrete is created.

More about Cement

There are two forms of cement: hydraulic and non-hydraulic. Hydraulic cement uses water to initiate a chemical reaction that hardens the mixture. The properties of hydraulic cement allow the mixture to harden in wet conditions, even under water. When the mixture has set, the product is hard, durable, and fully water resistant. Almost all cement used today is hydraulic. 

Non-hydraulic cement uses materials that cannot harden when exposed to water and cannot set in wet conditions. It needs a completely dry environment to harden. Non-hydraulic cement is cheaper but because it takes a long time to dry and won’t harden in wet environments, it’s a poor choice for most construction sites.

What About Concrete?

Concrete is a mixture of cement, water and aggregates. Aggregates make up between 60 and 75 percent of the mix; cement and water make up the rest. The aggregate used can include sand, gravel, crushed stone, or recycled concrete. Different aggregates will be selected, depending on the application of the concrete. 

To grind and crush stone into aggregate, heavy-duty machines like cone crushers and jaw crushers are used. The crushed aggregate is then screened for sizing before being added into the concrete mixture.

Concrete starts out as a semi-liquid and has excellent weatherproof properties. Because it’s incredibly strong, it’s ideal for use in construction and home DIY applications. Concrete is also fire resistant, durable, requires little maintenance, is environmentally friendly and energy efficient. These properties make concrete the most widely used man-made material on earth. 

How Is Concrete Recycled

Most new city construction projects begin with the demolition of old sidewalks, buildings, or concrete structures. The demolished concrete is then broken down on site with a portable plant. After that, it’s screened, sorted by size and prepared for use as recycled aggregate. 

Recycled aggregate can be used in landscaping, as a foundation for new roads, or even to make new concrete. This recycling process reduces the need to mine new materials and removes the environmental impact of transporting aggregate from a mine to a work site. 

Sepro Crushing and Screening has decades of experience mounting aggregate equipment to portable plants. To get started on a portable solution for a concrete recycling project or any mobile crushing project, call us at 1.450.922.0900.