The prime ingredient in building construction is cement. Cement act as the main binding agent in the construction holding the building blocks together. The use of cement testing machine has unparallel use here. The quality of the cement needs to be checked properly before using them in building construction.
What is Cement?
Cement is a binding substance that binds the building blocks in the building. The building blocks are the bricks. The cement helps to bind the bricks together during construction. The cement used in the semi-solid state hardens overtime to fix the bricks together, forming a definite structure. Cement is usually the silicates and sulphates of calcium. This composition of the cement gives them a unique binding property. The chemical composition of the cement makes them impermeable to water and moisture. This gives the building a waterproof finish and keeps them protected from the rain. Cement is also mixed with other additional solid aggregates like gravel and sand. This mixture is better known as concrete. Cement testing instruments measure the cement quality.
Which Features are tested by Cement Testing Equipment?
- Testing the compressive strength of the cement is one of the important aspects of building construction. This is because the cement strength depends on its binding capacity and ensures superior quality to the finished product. The cement testing is carried out by crushing cement-mortar into small pieces, and stress is applied. The compression machine measures the time taken to crush the cement pieces. This gives the compressive strength of the cement.
- Calculating tensile strength is also important as variation in temperature conditions and extreme environmental conditions can cause small fractures in the building walls. This is prevented by testing the tensile strength of the cement before construction. Uniaxial tension measurement is the common method used. A split cylinder test is also famous for measuring the tensile strength. The cement mixture is loaded in the form of a cylinder. The time taken for the cement to crack is noted. This gives an idea of the tensile strength of the cement.
- The fineness of the cement also needs to be kept in mind during building construction. The presence of fine sand, gravel, and silt particles give a texture to the cement. The finer particles ensure greater surface area. A larger surface area ensures compact binding. This increases the strength of the building. The Blaine-air permeability test is used to measure the time taken for a definite amount of air to pass through the cement. This determines the fineness of the cement.
- There is another test called the Vicat test that measures the consistency of the cement mixture. Consistency plays an important role in binding the bricks together. This gives the measurement of the consistency.
- The Le-Chatelier water bath technology can measure the soundness of the cement. The expansion time of the cement is measured by placing a paste of fly ash in a mould. The expansion points give the soundness of the cement.
All the discussed methods with appropriate equipment are used in testing cement for quality and reliability.