Testing services for your products and materials
What is Cement?
Cement is a binding agent, a chemical substance used for construction that sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together. Cement is seldom used on its own, but rather to bind sand and gravel (aggregate) together. Cement mixed with fine aggregate produces mortar for masonry, or with sand and gravel, produces concrete. Concrete is the most widely used material in existence and is behind only water as the planet’s most-consumed resource.
Here are some of the properties of cement:
- Strength: Cement is a strong material that can withstand a lot of weight.
- Durability: Cement is a durable material that can withstand the elements and wear and tear.
- Versatility: Cement can be used in a variety of applications, from making concrete to mortar to grout.
- Affordability: Cement is a relatively affordable material, which makes it a popular choice for construction projects.
Cement is an important material that is used in a variety of applications. It is a strong, durable, and versatile material that is essential for many construction projects.
What is Cement Testing?
Cement testing is a process of evaluating the physical and chemical properties of cement. This is done to ensure that the cement meets the required specifications and will be suitable for use in construction.
There are many different types of cement tests, each designed to measure a different property of the cement. Some of the most common cement tests include:
- Compressive strength test: This test measures the ability of the cement to withstand compression. The test is conducted by placing a sample of cement in a compression testing machine and applying a compressive load. The load at which the cement breaks is a measure of the compressive strength.
- Tensile strength test: This test measures the ability of the cement to withstand tension. The test is conducted by placing a sample of cement in a tensile testing machine and applying a tensile load. The load at which the cement breaks is a measure of the tensile strength.
- Soundness test: This test measures the resistance of the cement to breaking. The test is conducted by placing a sample of cement in water and measuring the amount of expansion that occurs. The amount of expansion is a measure of the soundness.
- Setting time test: This test measures the time it takes for the cement to set. The test is conducted by placing a sample of cement in water and measuring the time it takes for the cement to harden. The setting time is a measure of the workability of the cement.
- Fineness test: This test measures the fineness of the cement. The test is conducted by passing a sample of cement through a series of sieves. The weight of the cement retained on each sieve is a measure of the fineness.
- Chemical analysis: This test measures the chemical composition of the cement. The test is conducted by using a variety of techniques, such as X-ray fluorescence and infrared spectroscopy. The chemical composition of the cement is important for determining its properties, such as strength and durability.
Cement testing is an important part of the quality assurance process for cement. By testing cement, manufacturers can ensure that their cement meets the required specifications and will be suitable for use in construction.
Here are some of the benefits of cement testing:
- Ensures that cement meets the required specifications: Cement testing can help to ensure that cement meets the required specifications, such as compressive strength, tensile strength, soundness, setting time, fineness, and chemical composition.
- Identifies potential problems: Cement testing can help to identify potential problems with cement, such as manufacturing defects or material flaws.
- Improves quality: Cement testing can help to improve the quality of cement by identifying and correcting problems early in the manufacturing process.
- Reduces costs: Cement testing can help to reduce costs by preventing the use of defective cement and by improving the quality of cement.
In addition to the above, cement testing can also be used to:
- Monitor the condition of cement in service
- Identify areas where cement is likely to fail
- Optimize cement maintenance schedules
- Develop new cement materials and designs
Cement testing is a valuable tool for ensuring the quality and safety of cement. By testing cement, manufacturers can help to prevent defects and failures, and improve the overall performance of cement.
Cement Testing Plans
Specifications and test plans for cement:
- ASTM C150 – Portland Cement: Specification / Test Plan
- ASTM C595 – Blended Hydraulic Cements: Specification / Test Plan
- ASTM C91 – Masonry Cement: Specification / Test Plan
The following is a list of tests that are often included in cement testing plans:
|Property||Material||ASTM / Method||Details|
|Compressive Strength||Mortar||ASTM C109|
Compressive Strength of Hydraulic Cement Mortars Using 2″ Cube Specimens
Cube specimens are cast and three are tested at each of 1, 3, 7, and 28 days of curing. Samples are cured for the first 24 hours in a standard moist room, and all subsequent days in saturated lime water.
|Chemical Composition||Cement Powder||ASTM C114|
Standard Test Methods for Chemical Analysis of Hydraulic Cement
A variety of chemical testing methods are described. Testing covers all relevant chemical compounds required in most specifications.
|Soundness (Autoclave Expansion)||Cement/Mortar||ASTM C151|
Autoclave Expansion of Hydraulic Cement
Prisms are cast, and after 24 hours of curing, the lengths are measured. They are subsequently subjected to multiple hours of elevated temperature and pressure in an ASTM C151 compliant autoclave. Cement prisms are then cooled and measured. The length change is then compared with the initial length and compared to any relevant specification.
|Air Content||Mortar||ASTM C185|
Air Content of Hydraulic Cement Mortar
Mortar is cast to the desired consistency, and it is consolidated in a 400mL brass measuring container described in ASTM C185. The weight/volume is determined, and the air content is calculated based on the mix proportions.
|Time of Setting (Initial Set / Final Set)||Cement Paste||ASTM C191|
Time of Setting of Hydraulic Cement Pastes by Vicat Needle
Cement is cast to normal consistency per ASTM C187. After initial readings, cement paste is left in the Vicat Apparatus and allowed to cure until readings indicate initial set of the Vicat Needle. Sample is allowed to cure until no visible markings are made by the needle, and this is determined to be final set.
|Fineness (Specific Surface)||Cement Powder||ASTM C204|
Fineness of Hydraulic Cement Powder by Blaine Fineness Apparatus
A cement powder is compacted in a calibrated container. The container is sealed onto the apparatus, and air is allowed to be pulled through the compacted specimen. The rate of hydraulic fluid forced through the system is compared with that of a calibration cement, and the fineness of the cement is determined.
|Potential Alkali Reactivity||Mortar||ASTM C227|
Potential Alkali Reactivity of Cement-Aggregate Combinations (Mortar-Bar Method)
Mortar bars are cast from the cement/aggregate combination in question. The lengths are measured, and they are stored in appropriate containers submerged in water at the desired test temperature. Length change measurements are recorded for 14 days and may be continued for up to 12 months or more if desired.
|Early Stiffening (Mortar Method)||Mortar||ASTM C359|
Early Stiffening of Hydraulic Cement Mortars Using Vicat Needle
Cement mortar is cast to a specified consistency and consolidated in the C359 container. The vicat apparatus is used to measure penetration resistance at 3, 5, 8, and 11 minutes while the sample is allowed to cure in laboratory air. The material is then re-mixed, and the initial reading is performed again. Early stiffening amount, average early stiffening rate, and early stiffening recovery are reported.
|Early Stiffening (Paste Method)||Cement Paste||ASTM C451|
Early Stiffening of Hydraulic Cement Pastes Using Vicat Needle
Cement paste is cast to a specified consistency. Sample is allowed to cure in standard laboratory air for 5 minutes, and retested. Sample is then re-mixed, and the initial reading is taken again. Values for % final penetration and re-mix penetration are reported.
|Heat of Hydration||Cement Paste||ASTM C1702|
Heat of Hydration of Hydraulic Cementitious Materials Using Isothermal Conduction Calorimetry
An isothermal heat conduction colorimeter is a constant-temperature heat sink, to which two heat-flow sensors and sample holders are attached. One is attached to the sample and one to a reference cell. The heat of hydration can be measured by the calorimeter for up to 7 days to confirm compliance with specifications.
|Sulfate Resistance||Mortar||ASTM C452|
Sulfate Resistance by Percent Expansion of Mortar Bars Exposed to Sulfate
Mortar bars are cast with a gypsum addition to the cement. The lengths of samples are measured and they are allowed to cure in standard lime water. Length comparitor measurements are taken after 14 days of immersion.
|Time of Setting (Gillmore Needle)||Cement Paste||ASTM C266|
Time of Setting of Hydraulic Cement Pastes by Gillmore Needle
Paste is caste to the desired consistency and placed in each section of the Gillmore apparatus. The Gillmore needles are used to determine when the initial and final set have occurred.
Cement Testing Standards
Standards and acceptance criteria related to cement testing:
- ASTM C91 – Masonry Cement
- ASTM C109 – Compressive Strength of Hydraulic Cement Mortars (Using 2-in. or [50-mm] Cube Specimens)
- ASTM C114 – Chemical Analysis of Hydraulic Cement
- ASTM C150 – Portland Cement
- ASTM C151 – Autoclave Expansion of Hydraulic Cement
- ASTM C185 – Air Content of Hydraulic Cement Mortar
- ASTM C187 – Amount of Water Required for Normal Consistency of Hydraulic Cement Paste
- ASTM C188 – Density of Hydraulic Cement
- ASTM C191 – Time of Setting of Hydraulic Cement by Vicat Needle
- ASTM C204 – Fineness of Hydraulic Cement by Air-Permeability Apparatus
- ASTM C227 – Potential Alkali Reactivity of Cement-Aggregate Combinations (Mortar-Bar Method)
- ASTM C266 – Time of Setting of Hydraulic-Cement Paste by Gillmore Needles
- ASTM C311 – Sampling and Testing Fly Ash or Natural Pozzolans for Use in Portland-Cement Concrete
- ASTM C359 – Early Stiffening of Hydraulic Cement (Mortar Method)
- ASTM C430 – Fineness of Hydraulic Cement by the 45-μm (No. 325) Sieve
- ASTM C451 – Early Stiffening of Hydraulic Cement (Paste Method)
- ASTM C452 – Potential Expansion of Portland-Cement Mortars Exposed to Sulfate
- ASTM C595 – Blended Hydraulic Cements
- ASTM C1012 – Length Change of Hydraulic-Cement Mortars Exposed to a Sulfate Solution
- ASTM C1506 – Water Retention of Hydraulic Cement-Based Mortars and Plasters
- ASTM C1702 – Measurement of Heat of Hydration of Hydraulic Cementitious Materials Using Isothermal Conduction Calorimetry
More Information on Cement Testing
Please contact us for technical details and pricing.