Most common International Standards / Codes of Practice for 'Classification of Cement'

Vincent Shilton, from the United Kingdom, asks bricks-n-mortar(dot)com...
What are the most common International Standards / Codes of Practice used for Classification of Cement?

Team B-n-M answers...

Dear Vincent,

There are different standards worldwide that are used for the Classification of the Portland Cement (usually referred to as CEMENT only in common usage). However, the two most commonly used major standards that are referred to are:
  • ASTM C150 --- used primarily in the United States of America and affiliated countries/ regions
  • EN 197--- used primarily in the European countries and affiliated countries/ regions
Summarizing the above-mentioned Standards for Cement classification in brief:


This Standard classifies portland cement in five (5) major catagories, viz.,
  1. Type I
    This type of cement is known as common or general purpose cement. It is generally assumed unless another type is specified. It is commonly used for general construction especially when casting concrete members that are not to be in contact with soil and/or ground water.
  2. Type II
    This type of cement is similar to Type I in terms of composition and cost, but having moderate sulfate resisting properties (to counter sulphate/chlorides attack on building's sub-structure members) with or without moderate heat of hydration.
  3. Type III
    This cement is also similar to Type I, but is ground relatively finer so as to impart high early strength. Cost-wise, this type of cement is a little higher than the above two types.
  4. Type IV
    This type of portland cement is generally known for its low heat of hydration as a consequence of which the strength of the concrete develops slowly in the early stage after casting, but the ultimate strength (attained in 12-18 months time) is higher than other types of cement.
  5. Type V
    This type of cement is having high sulphate resisting properties and, therefore, is used in casting those concrete members that are subject to be exposed to alkali soil and ground water that affect the concrete by reacting and resulting in destructive expansion and corrosion of rebar.
EN 197

EN 197 categorizes portland cement types as:
  1. CEM I
    This is the common Portland cement that comprises of Portland cement and up to 5% of minor additional constituents (also called performance enhancers) such as flyash, limestone, etc.
  2. CEM II
    This type is generally called 'Portland-composite cement'. It comprises of Portland cement and up to 35% of other single constituents, be it flyash or granulated slag, etc.
  3. CEM III
    This type of cement is termed as 'Blast furnace cement'. It comprises of Portland cement and higher percentages of blast furnace slag.
  4. CEM IV
    This type of cement is called 'Pozzolanic cement'. It comprises of Portland cement and up to 55% of pozzolanic (volcanic/ igneous) constituents.
  5. CEM V
    This type of cement is called 'Composite cement' as it is formed by proportioning Portland cement, blast furnace slag and pozzolana or fly ash in prescribed limits.
These two Standards, viz., ASTM C150 and EN 197, find use in most part of the world, except where the countries have their own respective Standards or Code of Practices. It may however be noted that the two Standards do not correspond exactly to the similarly named cement types with respect to each other.

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