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Determining the Ideal Concrete Strength Test

In a construction project, strength analysis is critical, but is there a best concrete strength test for construction? To better understand how you can determine which concrete strength test suits your project, let's explore some of the steps you might take and some standard concrete strength assessment techniques. We'll also explore why you need to identify your project goals and how those goals can help determine the best approach.  

Importance of Concrete Strength Testing 

Testing the strength of concrete is a critical process. Selecting accurate strength testing methods is crucial to safety and your project materials optimization processes. 
Durability and safety in construction tests are two critical considerations. Using concrete of inadequate strength can put people in harm's way and risk widespread costs associated with unfit buildings. As such, determining the most viable means of testing concrete for strength can be a weighty decision that may necessitate a practical understanding of various testing processes. 

Methodology of Concrete Strength Tests 

Based on the criteria you develop for your project needs, you can compare the capabilities and limitations of various concrete strength testing methods and better determine which one suits your project. Some standard concrete strength tests include:

Pullout Test

This Pullout Test is relatively simple, though it has destructive potential. This test determines the pullout strength of concrete by measuring the force required to pull embedded metal out of concrete. 

Compressive Strength Test of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens  

This concrete compression test procedure uses a compression testing machine to measure the energy required to crush concrete cylinders. While it can provide high accuracy, This is regarded as the most accurate method for testing concrete strength.  

Cast-in-place Cylinders Test 

The cast-in-place cylinder test, also known as the CIPPOC method, is another test that determines the compressive strength of concrete in cylinders, but with an important caveat: the cylinders will be poured in place and extracted from the site in question.  
This enables the test to determine the compressive strength of a sample set under similar conditions to that of the rest of the site. This can be advantageous for some projects to warrant the additional steps required. 

Concrete Strength Test Image of Hammer and ConcreteConcrete Strength Test Image of Hammer and Concrete

Comparative Analysis of Strength Testing Methods 

The relative strengths and weaknesses of various testing methods may hinge upon your needs from a testing method standpoint. As such, take a look at the comparative strengths of these tests: 

Pullout Test: 

While the pullout test is relatively simple and inexpensive, it carries a few caveats; notably, it requires you to damage the concrete, and findings may only apply to a small area. 

Compressive strength tests: 

This may be ideal when a high degree of accuracy is necessary for safety reasons, and cast-in-place cylinder tests may be necessary when you need to control for setting conditions. However, these testing methods can be costly and require offsite testing and equipment. 

Factors Influencing the Choice of Testing Method 

When choosing the right testing method for your project, you must establish criteria that outline the needs of your project in this area. These could include the degree to which a test is accurate, the cost of a test, project requirements, budget constraints, available resources, and more. 
After establishing criteria, you can weigh them by importance and compare the needs of your project more easily to the capabilities and challenges associated with various testing methods. 

Narrow Down Your Selection

Once you've established project-specific criteria and compared those criteria to the relative strengths and weaknesses of different testing methods, you can narrow down your selection for the right concrete strength testing method for your project.  
However, it's important to note that many concrete testing methods exist, including several that we haven't discussed here. As such, it may be necessary to consult relevant documentation and resources such as those offered by ASTM International. 
At Deslauriers, we have a wide range of products, including concrete test cylinder molds and lids, to help you carry out the right concrete tests for your project. To get started or learn more, don't hesitate to contact us today.