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UNDERMENTIONED SECTOR
Cement

A cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed rock with burnt lime as binder. The volcanic ash and pulverized brick additives that were added to the burnt lime to obtain a hydraulic binder were later referred to as cementum, cimentum, cäment, and cement.

Cements used in construction can be characterized as being either hydraulic or non-hydraulic. Hydraulic cements (e.g., Portland cement) harden because of hydration, a chemical reaction between the anhydrous cement powder and water. Thus, they can harden underwater or when constantly exposed to wet weather. The chemical reaction results in hydrates that are not very water-soluble and so are quite durable in water. Non-hydraulic cements do not harden underwater; for example, slaked limes harden by reaction with atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The most important uses of cement are as an ingredient in the production of mortar in masonry, and of concrete, a combination of cement and an aggregate to form a strong building material.

An early version of cement made with lime, sand, and gravel was used in Mesopotamia in the third millennium B.C. and later in Egypt. It is uncertain where it was first discovered that a combination of hydrated non-hydraulic lime and a pozzolan produces a hydraulic mixture (see also: Pozzolanic reaction), but concrete made from such mixtures was first used by the Ancient Macedonians and three centuries later on a large scale by Roman engineers. They used both natural pozzolans (trass or pumice) and artificial pozzolans (ground brick or pottery) in these concretes. Many excellent examples of structures made from these concretes are still standing, notably the huge dome of the Pantheon in Rome and the massive Baths of Caracalla. The vast system of Roman aqueducts also made extensive use of hydraulic cement.

Although any preservation of this knowledge in literary sources from the Middle Ages is unknown, medieval masons and some military engineers maintained an active tradition of using hydraulic cement in structures such as canals, fortresses, harbors, and shipbuilding facilities. The technical knowledge of making hydraulic cement was later formalized by French and British engineers in the 18th century.