This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Specific Gravity = Displaced volume
The flask during the operation is kept in water in a jar A in order to avoid variation in [the temperature of the liquid. The results should agree within 0.01.
It is generally accepted that the coarser materials in cement are practically inert, and it is only the extremely fine powder that possesses adhesive cementing qualities. The more finely cement is pulverized, all other conditions being the same, the more sand it will carry and produce a mortar of a given strength. The degree of pulverization which the cement receives at the place of manufacture is ascertained by measuring the residue retained on certain sieves. Those known as No. 100 and No. 200 sieves are recommended for this purpose. The sieve should be circular, about 20 cm. (7.87 inches) in diameter, 6 cm. (2.36 inches) high, and provided with a pan 5 cm. (1.97 inches) deep, and a cover. The wire cloth should be woven from brass wire having the following diameters: No. 100, 0.0045 inches; No. 200, 0.0024 inches. This cloth should be mounted on the frame without distortion. The mesh should be regular in spacing and be within the following limits:
No. 100, 96 to 100 meshes to the linear inch. No. 200, 188 to 200 meshes to the linear inch.
50 grams (1.76 oz.) or 100 gr. (3.52 oz.) should be used for the test and dried at a temperature of 100° Cent, or 212° Fahr., prior to sieving.
The thoroughly dried and coarsely screened sample is weighed and placed on the No. 200 sieve, which, with pan and cover attached, is held in one hand in a slightly inclined position, and moved forward and backward, at the same time striking the side gently with the palm of the other hand, at the rate of about 200 strokes per minute. The operation is continued until not more than 1/10 of 1 per cent passes through after one minute of continuous sieving. The residue is weighed, then placed on the No. 100 sieve and the operation repeated. The work may be expedited by placing in the sieve a small quantity of large shot. The results should be reported to the nearest tenth of 1 per cent.
The use of a proper percentage of water in making the pastes, cement and water, from which pats, tests of setting, and briquettes are made, is exceedingly important, and affects vitally the results obtained. The determination consists in measuring the amount of water required to reduce the cement to a given state of plasticity, or to what is usually designated the normal consistency. Various methods have been proposed for making this determination, none of which has been found entirely satisfactory. The Committee recommends the following:
The apparatus for this test consists of a frame K, Fig. 2, bearing a movable rod L, with the cap A at one end, and at the other the cylinder B, 1 cm. (0.39 in.) in diameter, the cap, rod, and cylinder weighing 300 gr. (10.58 oz.). The rod, which can be held in any desired position by a screw F, carries an indicator, which moves over a scale (graduated to centimeters) attached to the frame K. The paste is held by a conical, hard-rubber ring 1, 7 cm. (2.76 in.) in diameter at the base, 4 cm. (1.57 in.) high, resting on a glass plate J about 10 cm. (3.94 in. square).
Fig. 2. Apparatus for Testing Normal Consistency of Cement.
In making the determination, the same quantity of cement as will be subsequently used for each batch in making the briquettes (but not less than 500 grams) is kneaded into a paste, as described later in paragraph on "Mixing," and quickly formed into a ball with the hands, completing the operation by tossing it six times from one hand to the other, maintained 6 inches apart; the ball is then pressed into the rubber ring, through the larger opening, smoothed off, and placed (on its large end) on a glass plate and the smaller end smoothed off with a trowel; the paste confined in the ring, resting on the plate, is placed under the rod bearing the cylinder, which is brought in contact with the surface and quickly released.
The paste is of normal consistency when the cylinder penetrates to a point in the mass 10 mm. (0.39 in.) below the top of the ring. Great care must be taken to fill the ring exactly to the top. The trial pastes are made with varying percentages of water until the correct consistency is obtained. The Committee has recommended, as normal, a paste the consistency of which is rather wet, because it believes that variations in the amount of compression to which the briquette is subjected in moulding are likely to be less with such a paste. Having determined in this manner the proper percentage of water required to produce a paste of normal consistency, the proper percentage required for the mortars is obtained from an empirical formula. The Committee hopes to devise a formula. The subject proves to be a very difficult one, and, although the Committee has given it much study, it is not yet prepared to make a definite recommendation.
Note. The Committee on Standard Specifications for Cement inserts the following table for temporary use to be replaced by one to be devised by the Committee of the American Society of Civil
Percentage of Water for
Percentage of Water for
Percentage of Water for
1 to 1
1 to 2
1 to 3
1 to 4
1 to 5
The object of this test is to determine the time which elapsed from the moment water is added until the paste ceases to be fluid and plastic (called the "initial set"), and also the time required for it to acquire a certain degree of hardness (called the "final" or "hard set"). The former of these is the more important, since, with the commencement of setting, the process of crystallization or hardening is said to begin. As a disturbance of this process may produce a loss of strength, it is desirable to complete the operation of mixing and moulding or incorporating the mortar into the work before the cement begins to set. It is usual to measure arbitrarily the beginning and end of the setting by the penetration of weighted wires of given diameters.