What is compressive strength of concrete?
Compressive strength is a measure of the ability of concrete to carry a load without deflection or cracking. Tests are performed on concrete cylinders or cubes. A specific test method is prescribed by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). The strength of concrete is a measure of its ability to withstand a load applied to its cross-section area.
The strength of concrete varies depending on the application. Typical uses for concrete include foundations and footings. Concrete columns and walls generally require a strength of between 3,000 and 5,000 psi.
Pavement, however, requires a higher compressive strength. These structures are often used for bridges and other structures that must withstand high pressures.
Tensile strength is a more complicated measure of concrete strength. While there is no standard field test for this property, indirect methods such as splitting and bending concrete can be useful. Traditional concrete has a tensile strength between 300 and 700 psi, which is about 2-5 MPa. Tensile strength is equal to or less than compressive strength.
While concrete is a dependable construction material, it can still fail. The material can be weakened, which is why higher strength concrete is often specified. The ultimate strength of concrete depends on its application, but a concrete with four thousand to 5,000 psi is usually enough. However, higher strength concretes aren't always recommended for every job.
Generally speaking, excessive compressive strength of concrete raises fundamental questions. The higher the strength, the stiffer the material is, and that is not always a good thing from a structural perspective. A stiffer material tends to redistribute internal forces differently, which can lead to greater stress and deformation. This can lead to uncontrolled cracks, especially at the joints between structural elements. This is not desirable because the joints are supposed to have uniform strength.
Compressive strength is commonly measured on a universal testing machine. The test method and test conditions influence the measurement results. Typical test methods use a three-dimensional cylinder and a concrete sample that is five centimeters thick.
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