Cement is made by heating powdered limestone with clay (which contains aluminum silicates) in a kiln. This produces a mixture of calcium and aluminium silicates, this is called cement. Cement has gypsum, a mineral which helps it harden so it is very strong and rigid when it is set. Water is mixed with the cement and a slow chemical reaction takes place, which causes the cement to gradually set hard whilst at this stage the cement can be easily shaped. It is also impermeable which means it is waterproof which will prevent the cement from going soft. Cement is very versatile as it has many uses such as building floors, beams and columns. It is also an ingredient for making mortar, plaster and concrete.
Mortar is made by mixing cement with sand and water. It is used for joining bricks together mainly on houses, bridges and buildings. A type of motar called thinset is used to secure ceramic tile to floors.
Concrete is made by mixing cement with sand, water and aggregate which is crushed rock. It is widely used for making architectural structures, brick/block walls, pavements and bridges. This is because it is a very cheap and quick way of constructing buildings. The only problem is that concrete has an ugly appearance. Concrete is reinforced this is a combination of concrete and a solid steel support. This makes it a better building material rather than ordinary concrete because it combines the hardness of concrete with the flexibility and strength of steel. By using concrete to construct buildings and bridges instead of Iron they will be more durable to the weather because they won't rust like Iron. Also if aluminium was used on its own then it would be too soft and wouldn't be able to carry the weight like concrete does in bridges. Additionally glass wouldn't be practical in building construction for example a bridge because it wouldn't hold the weight, it would be too fragile.