In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Correct Description is Concrete

I have a minor pet peeve about a term people use all the time. The term is "cement", when describing concrete.

What's the difference? Cement is a powder. The powder, usually "Portland Cement"  is the binder for concrete, which is a mixture of coarse aggregates (usually crushed rock), fine aggregates (usually sand) and the cement, which comes in many varieties.

Although it seems simple, the chemicals used in concrete, including set retarders and liquid air for insulating qualities, make for a multitude of specialty products. The varieties can be simple, or complex for special applications, such as a high strength, flowable concrete I once used to pour through 8 inch holes in a bridge deck.

So, when someone says: "That looks like a cement truck ahead." they're probably referring to a concrete truck, which is called a redi-mix batch truck. A cement truck is a tractor trailer combination, with the trailer being a hopper.

Calling a concrete truck a cement truck is like calling a cake a pan of flour.

Now you know the difference. You can fascinate your friends with your new knowledge.


  1. And the "hopper" trailer is a pneumatic.

    1. Yes they are; loud when running and the constant fight to keep the cement from clogging, while discharging, involves a rubber mallet and a lot of cursing.

  2. I did not know that. I haven't given the difference between concrete and cement much thought since I was a wee small kid-butt. I remember being in a car with the family and being stopped, stuck in a particularly bad patch of traffic where there was some construction or road work or something. It was a long, long time ago and the details are foggy but I remember seeing some kind of truck with a huge yellow colored barrel thing tilted to one side. The only frame of reference in my limited kid-butt experience was of the Plochman's Yellow Salad Mustard jars that were yellow barrel shaped. Not realizing I was speaking out loud I said, "Wow, that's one big mustard truck!" My dad said while my mom laughed, "That's a cement mixer." And, pretty much from that day forward I assumed that cement was the "liquid" form of concrete.

    1. Well, now you know and will never look at a concrete truck in the same way.