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 the 1780s, John Smeaton who worked on the Eddystone Lighthouse and Louis Vicat, who combined chalk and clay and, by 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’; 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, sulfate resisting cement and masonry cement. They can also come as blends to include Portland blast-furnace cement incorporating ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) as well as Portland fly-ash cement incorporating fly-ash.
Sandberg offers a comprehensive range of cement analyses 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.
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.
For more information contact our in-house expert: