Cement is the most used material in constructions. It serves as a binder which binds sand together in concrete.
It is important to use the best cement in constructions. Therefore, the quality of the cement must be investigated. It is important to check the quality of cement before it is been used for construction.
It might be impossible to check all the engineering qualities of cement but there are some field tests which can give us a rough idea of the quality of cement. The following are some of the field test that can be performed on site to ascertain the quality of the cement you are about using.
- Date of Packing
The date of packing can be seen on the bag. It is important to check the manufacturing date because the strength of cement reduces with age. Cement should not be too old from its manufacturing date. Cements should be used less than three (3) months after the manufacturing date.
- Colour of Cement
Cement colour gives an indication of excess clay or lime. The colour should be uniform. The colour of cement should be grey with a light greenish shade.
- Check for Lumps
Lumps generally form due to presence of moisture. Moisture is a big enemy of cement. Good cement should be lump free.
- Hand Insertion
You can also thrust your hand into the cement bag to know the quality. It must give you a cool feeling. This indicates that no hydration reaction is taking place in the bag.
When the cement is rubbed in-between the fingers, it should give a smooth feeling. If a rough feeling is felt, it means the cement has been adulterated with sand.
- Float Test
You can also check the quality of cement by throwing a handful of cement into a bucket of water. Good cement should sink and not float on water.
It is important to be aware before you buy cement as it is one of the prime construction materials of structural importance. Any lapse in its selection can lead to catastrophic effect.
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