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What are the Different Methods of Concrete Quality Control?

Keith Koons
Keith Koons

There are many different methods of concrete quality control that every contractor has to adhere to in order to ensure that their workmanship is sound. The overall mixture ratio of concrete and water plays a huge factor on the cure time and the long-term stability of any project, and the purity of the concrete itself is also stringently measured for the exact same reasons. There are also various types of slump tests to determine the lasting strength of the concrete once it is mixed. A finisher, who is the individual that spreads and evens the concrete during the final phases of concrete quality control, also plays a vital role to ensure that is cures properly.

Perhaps the most common method for determining the water to concrete ratio is to measure the slump of the concrete, which is where a sample of concrete is poured into a hollow steel cylindrical tube and then the tube is then removed. Gravity will cause the concrete to sag, and the resulting slump is measured. Professional analysts estimate the ideal slump at between 3.8 to 4.9 inches (9.7 centimeters to 12.4 centimeters). One of the greatest concerns is that the concrete mixture contains an excess of water, making it weaker and less durable, which is why the slump test is an essential part of quality control in manufacturing.

Cracked concrete.
Cracked concrete.

The second procedure in concrete quality control, strength tests differ between concrete quality control systems as a mix of environmental factors must be considered. For example, if the concrete mixture is intended for a construction project in Borneo where the humid climate and waterlogged soil may weaken building foundations, the strength test must simulate such conditions to yield accurate conclusions. Different projects require the concrete to support loads of different weights, which is why strength tests are extremely variable.

Wet concrete being poured.
Wet concrete being poured.

Additionally, the final steps are less about the actual manufacturing process since they instead focus on concrete quality control in construction. A professional concrete finisher should be on hand to ensure that timing and curing of the concrete mixture is properly executed. Improper techniques may trap moisture below the concrete surface, weakening the entire foundation. Concrete finishers will be able to consider the environmental conditions of the building site and give an expert opinion on the necessary time frame required to finish the mixture before a load may be mounted on the foundation.

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    • Cracked concrete.
      Cracked concrete.
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      Wet concrete being poured.
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      A man smoothing out a concrete floor.