What Is Soundness of Cement Test

soundness of cement

What is soundness of cement test?

The soundness of cement test Changes of volume after completion of mold cast. After casting change of volume of molded cement test, this changing call soundness of cement test.

Relevant IS Code: IS 4031 Part 3


Two methods may determine the soundness of cement. as per below

  • Le-Chatelier method
  • Autoclave method

 1. Le-Chatelier method


To determine the Cement Soundness test use Le-Chatelier method


a) Weighing Balance

b) Le-Chataleier molds/ Le chatelier apparatus

The test shall conform to IS: 5514-1969*.

c) Miscellaneous ( trowels, tray, stopwatch, etc.)


  1. Take 400gm of Cement and find its standard consistency for Cement soundness test
  2. Place the lightly oiled Le- Chatelier mold on a lightly oiled glass sheet
  3. Prepare a cement paste formed by gauging cement with 0.78 times the water required to give a paste of standard consistency.
  4. Fill the Le-Chatelier mold with this cement paste made in step (iii) of the procedure.
  5. Cover the mold on the top with another piece of a lightly oiled glass sheet.
  6. Place a small weight on this covering glass sheet and immediately submerge the whole assembly in the water at a temperature of 27° to 32° degree Celsius and keep it there for 24 hours.
  7. Measure the distance between the indicator points. Submerge the mold again in water. Bring to boiling point in about 25-30 minutes and kept it boiling for 3 hours.
  8. Removal, the mold from water, allows it to cool and measure the distance between the indicator points. The difference between these two measurements represents the expansion of cement.


Water Bath

Water bath capable of containing immersed Le-Chatelier molds with specimens and of raising their temperature from 27 ± 2°C to boiling in 27 ± 3 minutes. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 5.1.4


Calculate the mean of two values to the nearest 0.5 mm to represent the expansion of cement. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 5.3

Acceptance Criteria:

This must not exceed 10mm for ordinary, rigid hardening & low heat Portland cement. If in case the expansion is more than 10mm as tested above, the cement is said to be unsound.


2. Autoclave method


To determine the Cement Soundness test use Autoclave method


a) Weighing Balance

b) Autoclave

C ) Graduated Glass Cylinders

Graduated glass cylinders of 150 ml capacity shall be used, The permissible variation on these cylinders shall be plus or minus one milliliter.

The main graduation lines of the cylinders shall be in circles and shall be numbered.

The east graduations shall extend at least one-seventh of the way around, and intermediate graduations shall extend at least one-fifth of the way around the cylinder. The graduation lines may be omitted for the lowest 5 mI. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.1.3

D ) Molds

Molds of 25 X 25 mm size and 282 mm internal length and other accessories conforming to IS: 10086-1982


  1. At 24 ± t h after molding, the specimens shall be removed from the moist atmosphere, measured for length, and placed in the autoclave at room temperature in a rack so that the four sides of each specimen shall be exposed to saturated steam. For soundness of cement test  From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3
  2. The autoclave shall contain enough water to maintain an atmosphere of saturated steam vapor during the entire period oftest. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3
  3. Ordinarily; 7 to 10 percent of the volume of the autoclave shall be occupied by water.
  4. To permit air to escape from the autoclave during the early portion of the heating period, the vent valve shall be left open until steam begins to vanish.From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3
  5. The valve shall then be closed, and the temperature of the autoclave shall be raised at such a rate as will bring the gauge pressure of the steam to 2.1 MPa in I to Ii h from the time the heat is turned on.. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3
  6. The 2.1 ± O’lMPa pressure shall be maintained for 3 h. At the end of 3 hours period, the heat supply shall be shut off, and the autoclave cooled at a rate such that the pressure will be less than 0.1 MPa at the end of the hour, and any pressure remaining shall be slow-released by partially opening the vent valve until atmospheric pressure is attained.. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3
  7. The autoclave shall then be opened, and the test specimens immediately placed in water,
  8. The temperature of which is above 90°C.
  9. The water surrounding the bars shall·then be cooled at a uniform rate by adding cold water so that the temperature of the water shall be lowered to 27 ± 2°C in 15 min.
  10. The water surrounding the specimens shall then be maintained at 27 ± 2°C in 15 min when the samples shall be surface-dried, and their lengths measured again. From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3



The difference in lengths of the test specimen before and after autoclaving shall be calculated to the nearest 0’01 percent of the effective gauge length which is the length between the innermost points of the metal inserts used as reference points and shall be reported as the autoclave expansion of the cement. A contraction ( negative expansion) shall be indicated by prefixing a minus sign to the percentage expansion reported.From IS Code 4031 Part 3 Cl 6.3


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