The PCA Cement and Concrete Thesaurus, a list of accepted terminology for all aspects of cement and concrete, can now be accessed online.

The Thesaurus was first compiled by PCA staff in the 1960s, and revised in 1982. With the introduction of computerized library software in the early 1990s, it became possible to reexamine and update the Thesaurus more efficiently, allowing the addition of hundreds of new terms and other changes as new materials have been cataloged.

A thesaurus has a very practical purpose. It ensures that authors of research reports, database compilers, and others use consistent terminology when documenting or indexing the material, so that end users can retrieve needed information more efficiently.

Unlike a simple list of accepted keywords, a thesaurus is a hierarchical list. That is, it displays not only the terms, but also the relationships to other terms--Broader, Narrower, or Related. A thesaurus also provides cross references from synonyms to the “official” terms.



  • Broader terms: Surface defects
  • Related terms: Weathering, Leaching, Staining…

Lightweight aggregates

  • Narrower terms: Polystyrene beads, Perlite, Vermiculite…

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

  • Used for: Aggregate transfer method
  • Broader terms: Architectural concrete
  • Related terms: Concrete finishing, Concrete finishes, Decorative aggregates

Flowable Fill

  • Use: Controlled Low-Strength Materials (CLSM)


  • Use: Silica fume

Young’s modulus

  • Use: Modulus of elasticity

The PCA Concrete and Cement Thesaurus, a searchable .pdf, is (and always will be) a “work in progress,” due to the continuous introduction of new materials and technologies. We welcome any suggestions for changes! Please send them to PCA Librarian Guiyun Wang.

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