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TITLE: Soundness test on cement.

AIM: To verify the soundness of given sample of cement.


The cement is said to be unsound when the % of free lime and magnesia in it is more than the
specified limits. As large changes in volume of hardened concrete may occur due to excess of
these two substances, free lime (CaO) and magnesia (MgO) are known react with water very
slowly and increase in volume considerably, which result in cracking, distortion and
disintegration. The unsoundness can be measured by accelerating the slacking by application
of heat using le-Chatelier apparatus.

APPARATUS: Sample of cement, fresh clean water, le-Chatelier apparatus, glass plate 2
no., trowel, measuring cylinder, electric water bath, enamel tray, thermometer, stop watch,
weighing equipment.


1. Prepare water cement paste using 0.78 the quantity of water needed for preparing
water cement paste of standard consistency.
2. Place the mould on the glass plate and fill it with paste and cover the mould with
other glass plate.
3. Immediately immerse the whole assembly in water of 27 ’C to 32’C temperature after
placing a small weight on the top of upper glass plate and keep it there for 24 hrs.
4. Measure distance between the indicator points after the end of 24 hrs.
5. Now submerge the assembly again in water for temperature of 27’C to 32’C and heat
the water to bring it to boiling point within 25 to 30 minutes and keep it boiling for 3
6. Remove the assembly from water and allow to cool it.
7. Measure the distance between the indicator points now.
Weight of cement (C) =
Quantity of water required (P) for standard consistency =
Water to be added to the cement =
Time at which sample is put in water 27’C to 32’C =
Distance between indicator points after 24 hrs. of immersion in water at 27’C to 32’C (d1) =
Time of heating =
Distance between indicator points after 3 hrs. of boiling (d2)=
Expansion of cement (d1-d2) =
Compare results with the standard results reproduce below
Rapid Super Portland
Type of cement OPC Low heat
hardening sulphated Pozzolana
By Le Chatelier method
specimen shall not have
10mm 10mm 10mm 5mm 10mm
an expansion of more
than 10mm

RESULT: The soundness of the cement is found to be mm.


NOTE: In the event of cement failing to comply with the above requirement a further test
should be made from another portion of the same sample in the manner described above, but
after aeration (done by spreading out to a depth of 75mm at a relative humidity of 80 to 90%
for a period of 7 days). The cement is tested and the expansion of OPC, rapid hardening and
low heat cement shall not be more than 5mm.


1. All measurements should be accurately done.

2. While filling cement paste in the mould, the edges of the indicator should be kept
3. During boiling water level should not fall below the height of mould.