Making & Curing Concrete Test Cylinders

If you work with concrete, you may already be aware of the challenges that come with making, curing and handling concrete test cylinders in the field. In fact, this is the most common problem in concrete construction. How can you do a proper concrete compressive strength test, and why is that so important?

What Are the Correct Concrete Testing Procedures With Respect to Test Cylinders?

The necessary steps for concrete testing follow:

  • First, the worker making, testing and curing your concrete test cylinders must be ACI-Certified as a Grade I Concrete Field Technician. They must take a representative concrete sample in compliance with active standard ASTM C172.
  • The technician must start to make the test cylinder within 15 minutes of getting the sample. They must record the temperature of the ambient air and the concrete. There are two tests required — a slump test and an air test.
  • Once the technician has cast the cylinder and completed the tests, they must place the cylinder in a location where it will not be disturbed and will not suffer moisture loss, where it must be kept within a temperature range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
  • The most common way to make sure concrete test cylinders are in compliance with these requirements is to keep them in a tank of water heated to the appropriate temperature. They are now ready to be transported for curing and testing.


Curing the Test Cylinders

Cylinders can be stored at the conditions mentioned above for up to 48 hours, but you should be testing the concrete temperature range and recording your findings. Standard curing takes place in a lime bath or a moist room at 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit until the specimens are tested.

Another type of final curing is field curing, which you would use to compare additional cylinders with the standard cure cylinders. These field cured concrete cylinders should be placed as close as possible to the currently placed concrete before testing.

What Is the Purpose of Following These Procedures for Concrete Test Cylinders?

Standard curing and testing is used to make sure the concrete meets project specifications. Proper concrete test cylinder testing is vital to ensure that your results are accurate and that your concrete meets ASTM standards such as ASTM C31, which outlines very strict requirements for mixing, curing and transporting concrete test specimens in the field.

After strength testing, the tester should report the results to all relevant parties — including the producer of the concrete — according to ACI 301 and 318.

Contact Union Quarries for More Information

Union Quarries team members are the undisputed experts when it comes to concrete test cylinders and related building materials in central PA. For over five decades, we’ve been helping central PA contractors complete their jobs with high-quality construction products.

Our experts will be more than happy to provide you with any information you require about concrete cylinder making, curing or testing. We can also provide the right concrete products for any construction job. To learn more, call us at 717-249-5012 or contact us online today.


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