Yield and unit weight testing are essential procedures used to determine the properties of concrete. These tests provide valuable information about the concrete mixture’s consistency, workability, and density. Let’s explore each of these tests in more detail:

  • Yield Test: The yield test determines the volume of concrete produced by the known weight of its constituents. This test helps in assessing the consistency and workability of the concrete. It involves measuring the actual volume of concrete obtained from a specific weight of materials, typically using a cylindrical container. The steps involved in the yield test are as follows:
    • Prepare a known quantity of concrete mixture with a predetermined water-to-cement ratio.
    • Fill a cylindrical container with freshly mixed concrete, compacting it thoroughly.
    • Weigh the container filled with concrete and record the weight (W1).
    • Empty the container, clean it, and refill it with the same concrete mix.
    • Carefully compact the concrete in the container to remove any voids or air pockets.
    • Weigh the container with the compacted concrete and record the weight (W2).
    • Calculate the yield of the concrete using the formula: Yield = (W2 – W1) / Density of Concrete

The yield test provides information about the workability and air content of the concrete, allowing engineers to adjust the mix proportions if necessary.

  • Unit Weight Test: The unit weight test determines the weight per unit volume of the hardened concrete. It is performed to assess the density and overall quality of the concrete. The test involves measuring the weight of a known volume of concrete and calculating its unit weight (mass per unit volume). The steps for conducting a unit weight test are as follows:
    • Prepare a representative sample of the concrete to be tested.
    • Measure the sample volume using a known-sized container, such as a cylindrical mold.
    • Weigh the sample and record the weight (W).
    • Calculate the unit weight using the formula: Unit Weight = W / Volume of Concrete

The unit weight test helps evaluate the concrete’s density, an essential parameter for structural design and construction.

Both yield and unit weight tests are crucial in concrete quality control and assurance processes, ensuring that the material meets the desired specifications and performs as expected in various construction applications.

The steps for testing concrete can vary depending on the specific test being conducted. However, here is a general outline of the steps involved in conducting examinations for concrete:

  • Sample Preparation:
    • Obtain representative samples of the concrete to be tested. The samples should be taken from different portions of the batch or structure to ensure accuracy.
    • Ensure that the samples are correctly labeled and identified for tracking purposes.
  • Sample Conditioning:
    • If necessary, allow the samples to cure or age under controlled conditions to simulate the desired environment or specific testing requirements.
    • Follow the appropriate curing procedures and duration specified for the test being conducted.
  • Sample Preparation for Testing:
    • Prepare the samples according to the specific requirements of the test. This may involve cutting or shaping the examples to the required dimensions or size.
    • Clean the surfaces of the samples to remove any dirt, debris, or loose material that may affect the test results.
  • Test Setup:
    • Set up the testing equipment or apparatus according to the employed test method.
    • Ensure that the testing equipment is calibrated and in proper working condition.
  • Test Execution:
    • Follow the prescribed procedures and methods for conducting the test.
    • Per the test requirements, perform the necessary measurements, observations, or manipulations.
    • Record the data and observations accurately during the test.
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation:
    • If applicable, analyze the test results using appropriate mathematical calculations or statistical methods.
    • Interpret the data in the context of the test objectives and specifications.
    • Compare the results against the required standards or acceptance criteria.
  • Reporting:
    • Prepare a comprehensive report documenting the test procedure, test results, observations, and any relevant notes.
    • Include all necessary information, such as sample details, testing conditions, and any deviations from the standard procedures.
    • Communicate the test findings and recommendations to the relevant stakeholders.

It’s important to note that the specific steps and procedures can vary depending on the type of test being conducted, such as compressive strength testing, slump testing, air content testing, etc. Therefore, referring to the appropriate standards, guidelines, or test methods specific to the test being performed is essential.

Concrete testing provides valuable information about the properties and characteristics of the concrete mixture. The testing results can help assess the concrete’s quality, performance, and suitability for its intended use. Here are some of the critical insights that concrete testing provides:

  • Strength: Compressive strength testing is one of the most common tests conducted on concrete. It determines the maximum compressive load that the concrete can bear before failure. This information is crucial for structural design and ensuring the concrete meets the required strength specifications.
  • Workability: Tests like slump, flow, and compaction factors measure the workability or consistency of the concrete. They explain how easily the concrete can be mixed, placed, and compacted. Workability testing helps optimize the concrete mix proportions and assess its ease of placement.
  • Durability: Concrete testing can evaluate the durability characteristics of the concrete, such as resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, chloride penetration, sulfate attack, and alkali-aggregate reaction. These tests help in assessing the long-term performance and resistance to environmental factors.
  • Density and Unit Weight: Testing concrete’s density or unit weight provides information about its density per unit volume. This is important for structural design, determining the concrete’s mass, and evaluating its quality and density-related properties.
  • Air Content: Air content testing determines the volume of air voids in the concrete. It helps assess the concrete’s resistance to freezing and thawing, workability, and overall quality. Air content testing is crucial for concrete used in cold climates or where exposure to deicing salts is expected.
  • Setting Time: Tests for assessing time provide information about the time required for the concrete to harden and gain sufficient strength. It helps schedule construction activities, remove formwork, and determine the optimum time for finishing operations.
  • Chemical and Physical Properties: Concrete testing can assess chemical and physical properties such as water-cement ratio, aggregate properties, shrinkage, and creep. These tests provide insights into the concrete’s behavior and potential issues and can aid in optimizing the mix design.

Engineers, contractors, and stakeholders can make informed decisions regarding material selection, mix design adjustments, construction techniques, and overall quality control by conducting concrete testing and analyzing the results. It ensures that the concrete meets the required specifications, performs as intended, and maintains its integrity and durability over time.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed various standards for testing concrete and its multiple properties. These standards provide standardized procedures and guidelines for conducting tests and evaluating the performance of concrete. 

Here are some commonly used ASTM standards for testing concrete:

  • ASTM C39/C39M: Standard Test Method for Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens
  • This standard provides procedures for determining the compressive strength of cylindrical concrete specimens by applying axial compressive loads.
  • ASTM C143/C143M: Standard Test Method for Slump of Hydraulic-Cement Concrete
  • This standard outlines the procedure for measuring the consistency and workability of fresh concrete using the slump test.
  • ASTM C231/C231M: Standard Test Method for Air Content of Freshly Mixed Concrete by the Pressure Method
  • This standard describes the method for determining the air content of fresh concrete using the pressure method.
  • ASTM C172/C172M: Standard Practice for Sampling Freshly Mixed Concrete
  • This standard provides guidelines for obtaining representative samples of freshly mixed concrete for testing purposes.
  • ASTM C117: Standard Test Method for Materials Finer than 75-μm (No. 200) Sieve in Mineral Aggregates by Washing
  • This standard specifies the procedure for determining the amount of material finer than the No. 200 (75 μm) sieve in aggregate samples.
  • ASTM C496/C496M: Standard Test Method for Splitting Tensile Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens
  • This standard outlines the procedure for determining the splitting tensile strength of cylindrical concrete specimens.
  • ASTM C1583: Standard Test Method for Tensile Strength of Concrete Surfaces and the Bond Strength or Tensile Strength of Concrete Repair and Overlay Materials by Direct Tension (Pull-off Method)

This standard provides procedures for measuring the tensile strength of concrete surfaces and the bond strength of concrete repair materials using the direct tension (pull-off) method.

These are just a few examples of ASTM standards commonly used for testing concrete. Many more ASTM standards cover various aspects of concrete testing, including strength, workability, durability, density, chemical properties, and more. Therefore, referring to the specific ASTM standards relevant to the desired test or property being evaluated is essential.