Following field test can be done on cement for quality checks. However if cement satisfy the field tests requirements, does not really indicate that cement is of good quality. This field tests can be perform for quality check purposes for the using cement for less important works such as plastering, block work OR temporary works. For major works such as substructure and superstructure (Footing, columns, slab and beams etc), cement must be tested with laboratory test such as Fineness, setting time, compressive strength, soundness etc.
Quick and easy field tests on cement
1. Check manufacturing date printed on the cement bag. The cement should be use within one month from the date of manufacture.
2. Take a pinch of cement and gently press between the fingers. It should give smooth and nor courser feeling.
3. Take a bucket full of water and through hand full of cement in the bucket. The cement should float some time before sinking.
4. Open cement bag and take a closer look at the cement. The colour of cement should be uniform (greenish gray). There should not be any visible lumps also.
5. Put the hand deep inside the cement bag. You should feel cool and again check for lumps which should not be there.Such lumps are formed by the absorption of moisture from the atmosphere. Any bag of cement containing such lumps should be rejected.
6. Take small quantity of cement (usually 100 -150 gms) and add adequate water to make stiff cement paste. Prepare a cake of cement paste and put it on flat glass. Submerge the cake in the water slowly. Observe after 24 hours, cake should retain its original shape and also squire some strength.