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Hydraulic Cement – Types and Uses

When dry, powdery hydraulic cement is mixed with water, it dries and sets. It is thought to have been made by the Roman Empire and is still used today to build and fix things. The ingredients in hydraulic cement work together to shorten the time it takes to set, so it can harden even when wet. Hydraulic cement is better than regular concrete because it doesn’t shrink when it dries and may grow a lot. In this article, we’ll talk about hydraulic cement, how it can be used, and why it’s a big deal in the building business.

Hydraulic Cement
Fig: Hydraulic Cement

What is Hydraulic Cement?
Hydraulic cement is a type of cement that sets and hardens when mixed with water and then reacts with water to form a chemical bond with a structure. Unlike non-hydraulic cement, which does not set underwater and requires air to harden, hydraulic cement can set and harden even when fully submerged in water.
The chemical reaction in hydraulic cement involves the hydration of the cement particles, producing a gel-like substance that hardens over time. The most commonly used hydraulic cement is Portland cement, a calcium, silica, alumina, and iron oxide mixture.

Hydraulic cement is used in various construction applications, including foundations, dams, bridges, tunnels, and other structures exposed to water or damp environments. It also repairs cracks and leaks in concrete structures, such as walls and floors. The ability of hydraulic cement to set and harden quickly, even in the presence of water, makes it an ideal material for these types of applications.

Importance of Hydraulic Cement:
Hydraulic cement is an important material in the construction industry because of its unique ability to harden and set underwater. It is a preferred choice for projects involving structures built in or near water, such as bridges, dams, and tunnels. Hydraulic cement is important because of its ability to resist water penetration and withstand hydraulic pressure, making it ideal for use in wet environments. Unlike non-hydraulic cement, this requires air to cure, hydraulic cement sets and hardens through a chemical reaction with water.

In addition to its water resistance, hydraulic cement has a high compressive strength, making it ideal for use in heavy-duty applications such as foundations, retaining walls, and roadways. It can also be used when fast-setting is necessary, such as in emergency repairs. Overall, the unique properties of hydraulic cement make it a valuable material in the construction industry, particularly in projects requiring water resistance, compressive strength, and fast-setting capabilities.

How to Use Hydraulic Cement?
Hydraulic cement is a type of cement that sets and hardens quickly when it comes into contact with water. It’s commonly used to repair concrete structures, such as foundations, walls, and floors, and seal cracks and holes. Here are the steps to follow to use hydraulic cement:

1. Prepare the surface: Before applying hydraulic cement, clean and prepare the surface by removing any loose debris or dirt. Use a degreaser to clean the surface if there are oil stains or other contaminants.

2. Mix the hydraulic cement: Mix the hydraulic cement according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ratio of water to cement may vary depending on the brand of hydraulic cement you are using.

3. Apply the hydraulic cement: Using a trowel or putty knife, apply the hydraulic cement to the area that needs to be repaired. Make sure to fill the entire area with hydraulic cement, including any cracks or holes. Use a wire brush to roughen up the surface before applying the cement.

4. Smooth the surface: Use a trowel or putty knife to smooth the surface after applying the hydraulic cement. Make sure the surface is level and free of any bumps or ridges.

5. Allow the cement to cure: Hydraulic cement sets and hardens quickly, usually within 10 to 15 minutes, so work quickly. Once the cement has cured, it can be sanded or painted over if desired.

6. Clean up: Clean up any excess hydraulic cement with a damp cloth or sponge before it dries. Once it has been set, it can be hard to get rid of.

Types of Hydraulic Cement:
1. Normal Hydraulic Cement:
It is the typical variety of hydraulic cement, which has not been modified for use in any circumstance. On a smaller scale, it is employed for fixing up houses, buildings, and other structures. It’s useful for patching and leveling rough spots in concrete, indoors, or out. Water cannot pass through it once it has hardened; thus, professionals use it to seal off leaks.

2. High Early Strength Hydraulic Cement:
Even though hydraulic cement gets set quickly, the curing process can take up to a month. For the concrete to reach its full strength after setting, it must stay at a certain amount of moisture and a warm temperature range while curing. The time it takes to cure is cut down to about a week with high early-strength hydraulic cement. It is useful when a building to which it has been added must be used immediately.

3. White Hydraulic Cement:
This kind of hydraulic cement works the same as regular hydraulic cement. However, its color changes from grey to white due to a lack of magnesium and iron in conventional hydraulic cement, which changes its color from grey to white. When a building is supposed to look white or lighter, white hydraulic cement is helpful because it won’t leave a dark mark on a lighter wall or floor where it has been applied.

4. Moderate Heat of Hydration Hydraulic Cement:
When hydraulic cement and water mix, much heat is produced. The heat of hydration is moderate. It means that when hydraulic cement responds, it gives off less heat. Too much heat could cause cracks and weaken in some bigger buildings, like those with large supports and high retaining walls. It is the opposite of what you want to do if you want to build a strong system. Hydraulic cement with moderate hydration heat is used to stabilize these large structures.

5. Low Heat of Hydration Hydraulic Cement:
Low heat of hydration hydraulic cement is a type of cement that generates less heat during the curing process than ordinary Portland cement. This type of cement is useful in large concrete construction projects where high temperatures may cause cracking and other forms of damage to the concrete.

The low heat of hydration is achieved by reducing the amount of tricalcium aluminate in the cement, which is responsible for the rapid heat generation during the hydration process. Using low-heat hydration hydraulic cement helps reduce the risk of thermal cracking and other forms of damage to the concrete. Also, it allows for a longer curing time, which can be beneficial in certain situations.

6. Moderate Sulfate-Resistant Hydraulic Cement (MSRHC)
Moderate sulfate-resistant hydraulic cement (MSRHC) is a type of cement that is designed to resist the effects of sulfate attack. A sulfate attack occurs when sulfates in soil or water react with the cement in concrete, causing it to deteriorate over time. MSRHC is made by blending Portland cement clinker, gypsum, and specially selected mineral components to create a cement less susceptible to sulfate attack than ordinary Portland cement. The mineral components used can vary depending on the manufacturer and the application but typically include fly ash, slag, and limestone.

MSRHC is commonly used in applications where concrete will be exposed to moderate sulfate levels, such as in marine environments or soil with moderate sulfate levels. It is also used in construction projects where there is a sulfate attack risk due to industrial waste or groundwater with high sulfate concentrations.

Uses of Hydraulic Cement:
Hydraulic cement is a type of cement that sets and hardens when combined with water. It has a wide range of applications in construction, from foundation work to building walls and structures. Here are some common uses of hydraulic cement:

1. Foundation work: Hydraulic cement is commonly used to fill cracks and holes in foundation walls and to anchor bolts and other equipment to the foundation.

2. Repairs: Hydraulic cement is often used to repair damaged concrete structures, such as bridges, dams, and buildings. It can fill cracks, holes, and other voids in the concrete.

3. Waterproofing: Hydraulic cement is an effective waterproofing material. It can create a waterproof barrier on basement walls and floors, swimming pools, and other exposed structures.

4. Tunnels and underground structures: Hydraulic cement is commonly used to construct tunnels and underground structures. It creates a strong, waterproof seal around pipes, cables, and other penetrations.

5. Marine construction: Hydraulic cement is used to construct docks, piers, and other marine structures. It can be used to create a waterproof seal around piles and to fill cracks and holes in the concrete.

6. Roads and bridges: Hydraulic cement is often used to construct roads and bridges. It creates a strong, durable concrete mix that withstands heavy traffic and other environmental factors.

7. Pre-cast concrete: Hydraulic cement produces pre-cast concrete products such as pipes, blocks, and panels.

Advantages of Hydraulic Cement:
i) Quick setting: Hydraulic cement sets and hardens quickly, which makes it a popular choice for repairing concrete structures or fixing leaks in water pipes.

ii) Durability: Hydraulic cement is known for its durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions, making it an ideal material for building structures that withstand heavy loads or extreme temperatures.

iii) Water resistance: Hydraulic cement can set and harden even in the presence of water, which makes it a great choice for structures that are exposed to water or moisture, such as dams, bridges, and tunnels.
iv) Cost-effective: Hydraulic cement is generally less expensive than other types of cement, making it an affordable choice for many construction projects.

v) Versatility: Hydraulic cement can be used in various applications, from repairing cracks in concrete to building large structures, making it a versatile material for construction projects.

Disadvantages of Hydraulic Cement:
i) Limited working time: Hydraulic cement sets quickly, giving workers a limited amount of time to mix, apply, and finish the cement. This can be a disadvantage for projects that require more time to work with the material.

ii) Brittle nature: Hydraulic cement has high compressive strength, but it can be brittle and prone to cracking when subjected to tension or flexural stress. This can limit its use in certain applications where the material will be subjected to bending or stretching forces.

iii) Low resistance to sulfates: Hydraulic cement can be vulnerable to damage from sulfates found in soil and water. This can cause the cement to deteriorate over time, leading to cracking and structural damage.

iv) Not suitable for large pours: Hydraulic cement is not recommended because it can generate heat as it sets. This can cause cracking and other structural problems.

v) Limited application temperature range: Hydraulic cement is typically between 50°F and 90°F. The cement may not be set properly outside this range or have reduced strength.

vi) Environmental concerns: Hydraulic cement production requires significant energy, which can lead to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental concerns. Additionally, the cement may contain heavy metals and other pollutants, which can leach into the environment.

Hydraulic cement stops water and leaks in concrete and stone buildings. It is cement, like mortar, that forms quickly after being mixed with water. In the building industry, hydraulic cement is often used to seal off structures that are below ground level, or that could be damaged or submerged by water. But because hydraulic cement dries so fast, it should be used for something other than big jobs. You shouldn’t mix hydraulic cement that you can use in three minutes.

1. What are the Types of Hydraulic Cements? – PanyamCements. (n.d.). What Are the Types of Hydraulic Cements? – PanyamCements.
2. about Mechanics. (2023, April 12). About Mechanics.
3. Z. (2021, January 26). Hydraulic cement and its uses | Blend Plants Africa. Blend Plants Africa.
4. Hydraulic or Water-Stop Cement Can Be Very Useful in Some Applications. (2022, January 24). The Spruce.
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6. What is Hydraulic Cement? 9 Distinct Uses of This Material. (n.d.). DRYLOK® Masonry Products.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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