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Measurement of Particle Size Distribution in Portland Cement Powder: Analysis of ASTM Round-Robin Studies



Chiara F. Ferraris, Vincent A. Hackley, A Aviles


A distribution of particle sizes or particle size distribution (PSD) is a fundamental characteristic of cement powder. Accurate PSDs are required in computational efforts to model the hydration process and it is an important practical issue for the cement industry. Presently, the only available standard method for measuring the PSD of cement, namely ASTM C115, is limited in scope, with a lower size detection limit of 7.5 mm. Since there are no standard procedures that adequately cover the broad particle size range associated with portland cement powder, the implementation of different measurement techniques varies widely within the industry. Two ASTM-sponsored round-robin tests were carried out in order to (1) ascertain the techniques and methods currently used in the cement industry and (2) develop and refine a standard method or methods. The results have been incorporated into a best practice method based on the technique of laser diffraction. The aim of the current paper is to summarize the findings based on the data generated during the round-robins and to summarize the various approaches available to measure the PSD of cement. A detailed statistical analysis of the test results is provided.
Cement, Concrete and Aggregates
No. 2


cement, Laser diffraction, Particle size distribution, PSD


Ferraris, C. , Hackley, V. and Aviles, A. (2004), Measurement of Particle Size Distribution in Portland Cement Powder: Analysis of ASTM Round-Robin Studies, Cement, Concrete and Aggregates, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created November 1, 2004, Updated February 19, 2017