How to Use Portland Cement

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How to Use Portland Cement. Portland cement is made with limestone and clay or shale. The materials are mixed, burned and ground together. This type of cement is so named because of its resemblance to Portland stone when dry. The most common use for Portland cement is to make concrete and the following steps will address some of the more common mixtures.

Mix Portland cement with water and an aggregate (usually gravel and sand) to make concrete. The cement is then cast into the desired shape and can become a load-bearing material when it dries.

Mix Portland cement with sand and water to make mortar. Mortar is used to make bricklaying mortars, stuccos, plasters and grouts.

Use up to 70 percent furnace slag to make blastfurnace cement. This blend is cheap because the primary ingredient is normally a waste product. Blastfurnace cement has a high final strength and good sulfate resistance but takes longer to harden and has lower tolerance for heat.

Use up to 30 percent fly ash to make flyash cement. Flyash cement has good early and final strength but is only economical to make in volcanic areas where fly ash is readily available.

Mix Portland cement with sulfoaliminates to make expansive cements. Sulfoaluminates tend to expand when they dry which counteracts the tendency of Portland cement to contract. This allows large slabs to be poured at once without using contraction joints.