Since the development of modern cement in the 1750s, the formula has continued to develop to be stronger and longer lasting. Much research and experimentation has been done to achieve the recipe for the perfect concrete. Because of this, every mix requires carefully controlled portions, mixing techniques, and most importantly, precise testing.
In order to ensure high-quality cement is used during a project, quality tests are carried out. These tests help to identify the usage of cement for different purposes based on its durability and performance. Most cement and mortar tests are done in laboratories and assess many qualities and elements of both cement and mortar.
Three of the most common tests assess a mixture’s strength, softening point and finesse. These are necessary in all cement uses and applications. To perform these tests, cement mixers, a Vicat apparatus, as well as a Blaine Air permeability apparatus are needed. Learn more about these products below.
Mortar Cement Mixers — High Performance and Durability
Laboratory cement mortar mixers create thoroughly blended mortar and cement. These industrial mixers work to analyze the strength of the material through physical testing. Cement’s strength can only be defined indirectly through its compressive strength which is measured in this process. They allow for consistency among mixes that make for long-lasting cement.
For those who want or require the best quality mixers for their testing process, need look no further than the high-quality, heavy-duty mixers from Testing Bluhm. Ranging from a basic, manually-controlled model to those that provide program control with auto sand and water feed, these mixers, designed for mortar and cement testing labs will provide a long life of dependable and accurate service.
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Vicat Testing Apparatus
Vicat testing is used to determine the consistency or softening points of materials that have no defined melting point, such as cement. It determines a sufficient time frame for each mixture to harden. This is important to assess cement consistency as well as its initial and final setting time.
Humboldt provides a wide variety of Vicat testing devices to fit every need. This includes our extensive line of manual vicat testing devices customized for various ASTM and AASHTO specs. We provide two different single-station, automated machines for those who need a completely automated method of determining initial and final setting times of cements and mortar pastes. And, for those who require multiple testing of samples, we provide 6, 8 and 12-station, computer-controlled machines. These multi-station machines automatically monitor the setting process. With these machines, the test sequence is programmable and tests can be performed in air or in the supplied, temperature-controlled water bath. With programmed test sequences, the unit provides automatic registration of initial set and final set times, as well as providing setting plots of the entire sequence.
Blaine Air Permeability Apparatus
The Blaine Air method is often used to determine the finesse of hydraulic cement. These apparatuses help to determine if the cement is suitable to be used. A mixture’s finesse has an important bearing over the rate of hydration, rate of evolution of heat as well as the rate of grain of strength.
Humboldt offers several models of Blaine Air Permeability devices, from manually-operated to automatic models. We also carry electronic and PC-controlled Blaine Dyckerfhoff models for those using that test method. For those interested in testing the fineness of cement using ASTM C204 or AASHTO T153, Humboldt has a Blaine apparatus that will fit your needs.
While these three tests are very important, the cement endures additional laboratory evaluations as well. These include:
Soundness Test – This test is conducted to detect the presence of uncombined lime and magnesia within cement mixtures. It is important the cements do not undergo a large expansion after setting which can cause disruption of the set and hardened mass. The soundness of cement is determined through either the Le-Chatelier method or the autoclave method.
Heat of Hydration Test – Testing the temperature during a cement mixture’s hydration process ensures that the heat did not change dramatically during this reaction. The heat of solution is measured and compared after hardening for 7 and then 28 days. This test is often times carried out using a calorimeter.
Tensile Strength – The tensile strength of cement is its ability to resist stretching or breaking when being pulled apart. This test ensures that a cement mixture is able to withstand the weight and support it will endure throughout its life. Tensile strength is most commonly tested using a slump test and adding direct force to the mixture.
Chemical Composition Test – Many different tests are conducted to determine the various components in cement. With chemical analysis, you are able to determine if the mix was properly made and controlled.
Once in the field, additional tests are performed to further analyze the cement and mortar. These include inspections to examine color, adulteration, the presence of lumps, and the date of manufacturing. Although these take time, with an extensive list of both lab and field tests you can be sure that your concrete is reliable and created correctly.
Contact a Humboldt product specialist at 1.800.544.7220 ext. 6303 to learn more about our Cement and Mortar Testing Equipment.