Cement: Here’s looking at you, kid

A cement bag, also known as a "Cement Bag".
A cement bag, also known as a “Cement Bag”.

Yesterday we covered the history of concrete. ‘Twas a thrilling piece with many highs and lows; we had several messages from loyal readers describing how they physically wept over the beauty of the words and the descriptions of concrete things. As we feel we’ve hit an emotional nerve here, we thought we’d follow up the concrete piece with a look at cement.

“What is cement? I thought it was concrete!” you say so stupidly. Non! Concrete is the mixture of aggregate, water, and cement. The latter is a BINDER! No, not Binders Full of Women. Mitt Romney had that one explained very clearly indeed. No, cement binds stuff together. It’s made by heating limestone with stuff like clay. This is known as “calcination”, which sounds a bit like “calcium”. However, don’t go swapping your milk with cement for early morning bowls of Cornflakes. Ho no! You’d be dead faster than something that’s already dead. Such as Elvis (unless you think The King is living on the Moon, or hiding out in Skegness). You could, technically, add colouring (such as pink) to concrete mix. Effectively we could all be living in pink houses but, apparently, this isn’t deemed as desirable. Fuddy duddies.

Anyway, whilst YOU, dear reader, may think cement will die out in the internet age, the Chinese have actually used more cement in the last 18 years than the residents of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn combined! China also exported 11 million tonnes of the stuff in 1994 (presumably to fix the holes in Jupiter following the Shoemaker-Levy 9 Comet Event of the same year). Cement; a simple product with intergalactic resonance.

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