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Slump Test of Concrete, slump cone for Workability – Procedure, Apparatus

Slump test is a laboratory or at-site test used to measure the consistency of concrete. The slump test shows an indication of the uniformity of concrete in different batches. The shape of the concrete slumps shows the information on the workability and quality of concrete. The characteristics of concrete with respect to the tendency of segregation can be also judged by making a few tamping or blows by tapping the rod on the base plate. This test has been used since 1922 due to the simplicity of the apparatus and simple procedure. The shape of the Slump cone shows the workability of concrete.

Principle of Slump test

The slump value of concrete is just a principle of gravity flow of the surface of the concrete cone that indicates the amount of water added to it, which means how much this concrete mix is in workable condition.

Slump test Apparatus
Fig.1. Slump Test Apparatus

Apparatus for Slump test

Followings apparatus are used in the slump test of concrete:

  • Metallic mould in the shape of a frustum cone having a bottom diameter of 20 cm (8 in), top diameter of 10 cm (4 in) and height of 30 cm (12in).
  • Steel tamping rod having 16 mm (5/8 in) diameter, 0.6 m (2 ft.) long with bullet end.

The procedure of Slump test

During the Slump test following steps are followed:

  • First of all, the internal surface of the mould is cleaned and free from moisture and free from other old sets of concrete.
  • Then place the mould on the smooth horizontal, rigid, and non-absorbant surface.
  • The mould is then filled with fresh concrete in four layers with taping each layer 25 times by taping rod, and leveling the top surface with a trowel.
  • Then the mould is slowly pulled in vertically and removed from the concrete, so as not to disturb the concrete cone.
  • This free concrete deforms all the surface to subside due to the effect of gravity.
  • That subsidence of concrete in the periphery is a SLUMP of concrete.
  • The height difference between the height of subsidence concrete and mould cone in mm is the ‘slump value of concrete’.

The recorded slump value of a sample is = ……… mm

Slump test of concrete - Apparatus
Fig.2. Slump test of concrete – Apparatus

The development of the slump is shown in Fig. 3.

Also read: Marshall mix design method, apparatus and procedure

Precaution during test

  • The internal surface of the mould should be cleaned and free from moisture.
  • The base plate or surface should be free from vibrations or shocks.
  • This test is done just after sampling for nearly after 2 minutes.

Interesting for you: DPC ( Damp proof Course) uses and methods

Uses and Drawbacks of Slump Test

This test does not give good results for very wet and dry concrete. Also for stiff-mix, it is not sensitive. The table below shows the various values of a slump with the workability of concrete.

The following chart shows the Slump Value of concrete for different Degrees of workability for various placing conditions:

Degree of workabilityPlacing ConditionsSlump(mm)
Very Low  Binding concrete (member of concrete by spreading, shallow sections, Pavements using pavers (mixer with spreading arrangements)Compaction factor 0.75 – 0.8
LowMass concrete, lightly reinforced slab, beam, wall, column sections, canal lining, strip footing (ling wall with smaller width )25 – 75
MediumTremie concrete (concreting in water by using watertight pipe to pour concrete.)50-100
HighTrench fill, in-situ piling100-150
Very highTremie concrete (concreting in water by using water tight pipe to pour concrete.)Flow test.
Table: Value of Slump at Different degree of Workability

Much research shows that for the “very high” category of workability, the flow test is more suitable for workability measurement.

For large construction projects, a slump test is a very useful tool to check day-to-day or hour-to-hour variation of the quality of the concrete mix, and by observing slump reading, we can easily change the moisture (water) content and grading of concrete. Due to that reason, it is the most common method of test.

Shapes of Concrete Slump
Fig. 3. Shapes of Concrete Slump

Shape of concrete slump

When the metal mould is removed from the concrete cone, the slump takes the following shapes:

  • True Slump: The true shape of a slump is only a verified slump.  This shape is measured as the difference between the top layer of the cone to the top of the slump concrete.
  • Collapse Slump: This shows that due to a high water-cement ratio, the shape of a slump is not a clear dimension. It means, concrete has very high workability, for which slump test is not suitable.
  • Shear Slump: This shape of a slump is the same as the shear failure of soil. This is an indication of a lack of cohesion among the concrete mix ingredients. So, a fresh sample is taken and the test is repeated.

Factors influencing Slump Cone:

Following factors influence concrete Slump value:

  1. Water –cement ratio of concrete.
  2. The quality of coarse and fine aggregates, their shape, moisture content, texture, and grading.
  3. The use of plasticizer, superplasticizer admixture, and the sequence of their mixing.
  4. The void ratio of concrete and air content of concrete.
  5. The time of the test after mixing of concrete.

Standards for Slump test:

  • US – standard: In the United States, this test is known as “ Standard Test Method for Slump of Hydraulic – Cement Concrete” and follows the code ASTM C143 OR (AASTO T119).
  • United Kingdom & Europe: The older standard for British was first (BS 1881–102). But, now they use European standards (BS EN 12350-2).
  • Indian Standard: Indian standard is: IS 1199-1959

Modern Technology:

For fast testing, a new apparatus called ‘K-Slump Tester’ is developed. This device can measure slump value within a minute after it is inserted into fresh concrete. And, it can also measure relative workability.

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