The term "cement" most commonly refers to hydraulic cement, especially portland cement. Hydraulic cements are those that have the property of hardening under water and are the chief binding agents for concrete and masonry. Portland cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin of Leeds, England, in 1824, and today, it is the predominant variety of hydraulic cement. The name "portland" was chosen because the set cement resembled a building stone quarried from the Isle of Portland off the southern coast of England.
More than 95% of the cement produced in the United States is portland cement; masonry cement used for stucco and mortar accounts for most of the balance. Portland cement concrete is one of the principal materials of construction, and it is anticipated that the use of concrete in construction will continue at a high level worldwide.
In the long term, cement consumption has increased and will continue to increase because increased population leads to increased construction. In the short term, cement demand is subject to the cyclic nature of the U.S. economy in general and the level of construction activity in particular. This is evident in the 20-year data tables, which show a decreased demand in the mid-1970's because of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' oil- embargo shocks to the world economy, a slump during the recession of the early 1980's, strong growth in demand during the rest of the 1980's as the U.S. economy experienced growth, and a downturn in 1990 as overbuilding, economic slowdown, and tight money supply caused a significant decrease in construction.
- Table 1.--Portland and masonry cement demand and production (TXT)
- Table 2.--Average annual mill value, in bulk, of cement sold in the United States (TXT)
- Table 3.--Portland cement and clinker annual capacity and capacity utilization in the United States (TXT)
- Table 4.--U.S. exports for consumption of cement and clinker (TXT)