Cement testing

Cement, in one of its many forms, is one of the most widely used materials in the built environment. Dating back to Roman times mixtures of a pozzolan and non hydraulic lime have been used to produce a hydraulic cement material. Modern hydraulic cements began to be developed around the time of the industrial revolution (around 1700). Among the major developers of these “hydraulic cements” were James Parker who developed “Roman Cement” in 1780's, John Smeaton who worked on the Eddystone Lighthouse and Louis Vicat who combined chalk and clay and, burning this, produced an "artificial cement" in 1817. In 1824 Joseph Aspdin patented a similar material, which he called Portland cement, because the render made from it was a similar colour to the prestigious Portland Stone. However it was not until the early 1840s that Joseph Aspdin’s son William produced the first “modern” Portland Cement. However, Aspdin's methods were "rule-of-thumb" and Vicat is responsible for establishing the chemical basis of these cements, and I C Johnson established the importance of sintering the mix in the kiln. The use of concrete in construction grew rapidly from 1850 onwards, and was soon the dominant use for cements. Thus Portland cement began its predominant role.

Nowadays cements come in a wide variety of formulations including “Ordinary” Portland cement, White cement, Rapid hardening cement, Sulphate resisting cement and Masonry cement. They can also come as blends to include Portland blastfurnace cement incorporating ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) and Portland flyash cement incorporating fly ash.

Sandberg offers a comprehensive range of cement testing encompassing both physical and chemical cement testing utilising BS, EN and ASTM methods. All testing is carried out by our experienced staff operating from our well equipped UKAS accredited Laboratories. Due to our independence cement testing can be carried out as part of routine quality control for cement manufacturers or as part of a materials failure investigation.

Physical cement testing carried out includes:

  • Density, Fineness
  • Compressive and flexural strengths
  • Setting times and soundness

Chemical cement testing carried out includes:

  • Full analysis including the determination of chloride
  • Conformity to BS EN 197
  • PFA content and chromate VI content

These cement testing methods can be further backed up by the use of microscopic techniques including point counting for ggbs and pfa.

Gavin Mayers

For further information contact: Gavin Mayers, Partner
Direct Tel: 020 7565 7070
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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