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Continuous Strength Measurement- Replacement of Compression Test with Non Destructive Ultrasonic Wave Propagation



Scott Z. Jones, Dale P. Bentz, Stefano Ricci, Valentino Meacci, Didier Lootens, Marc Schumacher


Concrete strength is crucial for the design of construction elements and should as a consequence be carefully controlled to ensure the security of the architecture. Due to the reactive nature of the constitutive binders of the concrete, its strength evolves over time: in the early age, the precipitation of the hydrates rapidly transform the fluid material by connecting the particles, inducing a rapid transition of the suspension to a porous material; later, the porosity of the material is further reduced, concurrently increasing the strength of the materials. The capacity of an ultrasonic instrument to continuously measure the evolution of the mechanical properties of cementitious materials presents a significant advantage. We demonstrate that the attenuation of the ultrasonic wave for the quantification of strength measurements of paste (grout), mortar and concrete allows a nondestructive and continuous measurement of the material modulus. In order to establish the correlation between the strength measurement via wave propagation and classical compression tests, a series of cement paste and concrete cubes with different compositions and type of aggregates have been tested. The correlation between the strength obtained with compression tests and ultrasonic wave attenuation are in the range of ± 20 % over more than 3 decades. In the case of concrete, an improvement of the correlation is obtained with a simple correction factor that can be obtained from a single compression test.
Cement and Concrete Composites


Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity, Concrete Strength, Non-destructive Evaluation


Jones, S. , Bentz, D. , Ricci, S. , Meacci, V. , Lootens, D. and Schumacher, M. (2020), Continuous Strength Measurement- Replacement of Compression Test with Non Destructive Ultrasonic Wave Propagation, Cement and Concrete Composites, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created January 20, 2020, Updated September 7, 2020