Concrete is the world’s most consumed material after water. It’s essential for construction, from buildings to roads and bridges. Ensuring these projects use safe concrete is also essential.
Concrete testing equipment shows whether the concrete was poured, set, and constructed correctly. Materials testing methods can measure the quality, strength, and durability of concrete. Testing is critical for the safety and longevity of your building or structure.
Concrete that doesn’t perform as intended will delay your project. Nothing else can happen on the project until the concrete meets the required standards.
As such, concrete manufacturers tend to conduct their own quality-control testing. However, field testing is also essential. Reacting quickly to substandard field testing results can help keep the project on track.
The right concrete testing equipment helps ensure you get the most accurate and reliable results. Learn more about concrete testing and how the right inspection services provider can help.
Types of Concrete Testing
You need different types of concrete testing equipment depending on the test you’re conducting. ASTM International standardizes concrete testing methods.
Fresh concrete testing analyzes the concrete before it cures. Compressive strength testing examines fully-cured concrete.
Slump testing measures the consistency of the concrete. ASTM C143 describes the requirements for this test.
To conduct a slump test, you fill a slump testing cone with 12 inches of concrete. You then compact the concrete and lift the cone off. You measure the difference between the original height and the height of the settled shape.
A higher slump means lower strength. Staying within the specified range for the concrete you’re using is essential.
Other Types of Fresh Concrete Testing
Other types of testing for fresh concrete include temperature measurements and air content. ASTM C172 outlines how to sample ready-mix concrete. You should take the sample from the truck after 10% discharge but before 90% discharge.
The temperature of the concrete affects how it cures and gains strength. ASTM C1064 describes this test. The temperature limit depends on the composition and fineness of the cement.
Small air bubbles in concrete help prevent damage from freeze and thaw cycles. Too much air content can cause problems, though. The pressure testing method for air content is the most common, but volumetric and gravimetric testing are also options.
ASTM C173 provides the standard for air content testing.
Compressive Strength Tests Using Cylinders
The most common compressive strength test uses concrete test cylinders. ASTM C31 describes how to make and cure the samples.
The samples are placed into a compression-testing machine. The machine applies increasing compressive loads until the material fails. You typically conduct tests at 7 days and 28 days.
Other Destructive Compressive Strength Testing Methods
Other methods for testing the compressive strength of concrete include:
- Rebound hammer or Schmidt hammer (ASTM C805)
- Penetration resistance (ASTM C803)
- Pullout (ASTM C900)
- Drilled core (ASTM C42)
These methods can offer advantages over cylinder break tests in some situations. They’re all destructive testing methods, though. You must guarantee the concrete installers thoroughly repair damage at the test site.
Non-Destructive Testing Methods for Compressive Strength
Non-destructive testing doesn’t damage the concrete at your job site. Several non-destructive testing methods are options for testing concrete strength.
Ultrasonic pulse velocity testing (ASTM C597) shows the velocity of vibrations through a concrete slab. It shows elasticity, density, and stress resistance.
Wireless maturity sensors (ASTM C1074) are placed on the rebar before you pour the concrete. They collect temperature data and transmit it to a computer or smartphone. They work on the principle that the temperature of the concrete is related to its strength.
Other non-destructive testing methods include:
- Electrical resistivity (ASTM C1876)
- Ground penetrating radar (ASTM D6432)
- Radiography (ASTM E1742)
Some of these concrete testing strategies are relatively new. They have rapidly proved their effectiveness and accuracy.
Choosing Concrete Testing Equipment
You have several factors to consider when choosing concrete testing equipment. Understanding your testing requirements is the first step. You need equipment tailored to the type of testing you’ll be doing.
The testing equipment must align with your industry and regulatory standards. It must provide accurate and repeatable results. You also need concrete testing equipment that can handle the demanding environment of your job site.
For example, the load frame of a concrete compression machine must have a capacity greater than the load you expect to use. Larger specimens will need a larger machine size.
Equipment should be easy to use and maintain. Look for a manufacturer capable of providing good customer service and support. This can save you time in the initial training and throughout the life of the equipment.
Your budget is an important factor when choosing concrete testing equipment. However, cheaper equipment that is lower quality will usually cost you more in the long run. Look for equipment that gives you the best long-term value.
Using Concrete Testing Services
Concrete testing should be performed by trained professionals. Testing can occur on-site or in a laboratory. Certified, experienced technicians have the expertise to conduct concrete testing in accordance with the relevant standards.
Working with a civil engineering firm has several advantages for concrete testing. A reputable civil engineering firm will have high-quality concrete testing equipment. They will be up-to-date on the latest testing technology.
You can rely on the accuracy and repeatability of their testing results. Their team of credentialed experts can handle a variety of materials testing such as:
- Density testing
- Soil compaction
- Soil permeability
- Sieve analysis
- Modified or standard proctor soil testing
These inspection services help ensure the materials you’re using are performing as expected for your project.
Finding the Right Concrete Inspection Services Provider
Materials testing is essential for the safety of your construction project. The right concrete testing equipment helps ensure you get the most reliable results.
HRK Engineering and Field Services is one of the most trusted civil engineering firms in Washington and Oregon for materials testing. We understand the unique construction challenges of our region. We’ve been helping contractors and construction companies here since 2015.
HRK Engineering does more than design projects. We help you lay the foundation for a better community. Get in touch with HRK Engineering today to discuss how we can help ensure the structural integrity of your project.