What is the difference between mortar mix and concrete mix?

Concrete and mortar are ubiquitous materials in construction, but with different purposes. Both contain portland cement, water and aggregate, but the mixes for each reflect the desired characteristics.

Mortar is used to bond masonry units together. It doesn’t need the strength of concrete; however, it needs good bonding characteristics. Mortars with a high water-cement ratio bond best. This is the opposite of concrete, where concrete mix is formulated for strength and lower water content makes it stronger and more effective for its purpose. Additives or plasticizers may be added to mortar mixes to increase their flexibility.

Concrete is categorized into two primary categories, plain concrete, and structural concrete. Plain concrete is any structure supported by the ground, such as walkways, driveways, slabs, and spread footings to support masonry walls. Plain concrete is often reinforced with steel to increase its tensile strength against temperature fluctuations that threaten its structural integrity.

Structural concrete is any structural piece made of concrete that has points of support and requires the capacity to hold loads, such as concrete beams, suspended concrete slabs, or concrete pilings.

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