In the world of construction, cement is crucial to ensure the durability and strength of structures. It is a binding agent and is utilised to bind different construction materials. Today, you can choose from several types of cement depending on the project. Two standard varieties that people often consider include the Portland Pozzolana Cement and Ordinary Portland Cement.  

PPC and OPC are essential building blocks in construction projects. However, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Let us examine the differences between the two. 

Overview of OPC  

OPC, or Grey Cement, is the most widely used cement variety in India. Its superior binding properties make it a favourite in the construction world. The raw materials used to produce OPC include gypsum, clinker, and other substances that improve performance. Since OPC has a relatively high compressive strength, this cement variety is used primarily for general construction.  

Overview of PPC 

PPC is a blended cement variety made using Portland clinker and pozzolanic materials like volcanic or fly ash. The pozzolanic substances boost the cement variety’s durability, workability, and resistance to sulphate attacks. Such properties make PPC more suitable for construction near water bodies where the concrete frequently encounters sulphate. PPC is eco-friendly and has a low carbon monoxide emission rate. It offers a smooth finish, making it ideal for use in plastering. 

Differences between OPC and PPC 

PPC and OPC are applicable in the construction industry. The essential differences between the two cement varieties include the following: 

  • Strength 

OPC attains high strength during the initial stage of casting. This makes this cement variety useful for projects that need quick setting. Hence, OPC is utilised in construction projects when early strength is crucial. This includes the construction of bridges and buildings. Meanwhile, PPC is comparatively weaker during the initial setting stage. However, Portland Pozzolana Cement exhibits higher long-term strength than OPC.  

This is due to the slow pozzolanic reaction, which results in improved strength characteristics in the long run. Consequently, PPC is used to construct slabs for residential buildings and standalone houses. 

  • Durability in aggressive weather conditions 

OPC is generally less durable in aggressive weather conditions. This is due to its higher permeability and susceptibility to chemical attacks. Conversely, PPC has lower permeability and higher resistance against chemical attacks. This makes it more durable in aggressive weather conditions. 

  • Setting time 

OPC has a shorter initial and final setting time than PPC. This faster setting time facilitates quicker construction activities. Compared to OPC, PPC has a longer setting time. This slower setting time offers the benefit of better workability and finishing. It also makes PPC suitable for projects where a longer handling time is needed. 

  • Grades 

According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, OPC is available in three grades in India: Grade 53, Grade 33, and Grade 43. The cement grade describes the compression strength of OPC or Grey Cement. A higher grade of cement indicates higher compression strength, which translates into a structure's ability to tackle erosion and withstand more weight. Meanwhile, there is only one variant present for PPC and according to BIS, PPC is classified as Grade 33 cement. 

  • Heat of hydration 

OPC releases more heat during the hydration process. This makes it less suitable for mass-casting applications since excessive heat in such cases can cause cracking. Conversely, PPC has a slower hydration process. As a result, it generates less heat during hydration. This makes PPC more suitable for mass-casting applications since it minimises the risk of thermal cracking. 

  • Environmental impact 

Using industrial by-products, such as fly ash and PPC, helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions and conserves natural resources. When producing OPC, the carbon dioxide emissions are higher. Hence, PPC is often considered more environmentally friendly. 

  • Applications 

OPC suits projects that require faster construction. Hence, it can be a good choice for constructions where the props need to be removed early. Portland Pozzolana Cement is suitable for various construction works. This could include RCC casting of buildings, plastering, and mass concreting for bridges.  

This cement variety provides long-term durability and good workability. PPC is mainly useful for hydraulic and marine constructions. It also suits mass concreting. 

  • Curing time 

Curing concrete is the process of adding moisture and controlling the temperature in the concrete to help with hydration. OPC needs a shorter curing time than PPC. This results in reduced curing expenses when using OPC. 

  • Costs 

PPC is relatively cheaper than OPC as it uses pozzolanic materials like fly ash. These are often natural or industrial waste products. Consequently, this decreases the overall cost of production of PPC. 

Advantages of OPC and PPC 

The benefits of OPC include the following: 

  • OPC has a higher initial strength than PPC.  
  • This cement variety usually suits constructions where the props need to be removed early. 
  • Use of OPC can reduce curing expenses. 

The essential perks of PPC include the following: 

  • Since it is resistant to sulphate attacks, you can use it to construct buildings close to the seashore, marine structures, and dams. 
  • PPC demonstrate a higher long-term strength than OPC. 
  • It costs less than OPC. 


Cement is a crucial building material and the heart of every construction. Different construction jobs need various cement varieties. When choosing between PPC and OPC, each has its advantages. Hence, the one you should select depends on the performance criteria and desired characteristics of the project. 

Construction professionals should determine the differences between the two cement varieties and make an informed decision to ensure the construction project is a success. Usually, PPC is used in residential projects. On the other hand, OPC is often utilised in commercial projects.