Tag Archives: water absorption test

Testing of Bricks – Top 8 Test on bricks to ensure quality

Testing of Bricks is performed both on the job site and in the laboratory. A variety of test on bricks is performed to verify their suitability for use in construction. Bricks are one of the oldest and most significant building materials due to their longevity, dependability, strength, and low cost. Bricks are construction materials made of clay and come in a specific size. Additionally, they are the foundational components of construction. Brick is a building material that has been around for a long time. They serve as both a load-bearing structure and a load-transfer medium. The dimensions of the brick are 190 mm × 90 mm × 90 mm. They have sharp edges and are also rectangular.

Audio on test on bricks
Audio on test on bricks
  1. Requirement of Good Quality Bricks and Significance of test for bricks
  2. Testing of Bricks – Top 8 tests on bricks
    1. Water absorption testing of bricks
  3. Compressive strength of brick/Crushing strength of brick
  4. Efflorescence test on brick – Testing of bricks
  5. Hardness test on bricks
  6. Shape and size Testing of Bricks
  7. Colour test of bricks
  8. Structure Test on Bricks
  9. Soundness test of bricks

Requirement of Good Quality Bricks and Significance of test for bricks

The following are the fundamental requirements for a good quality brick, making testing of bricks and brick quality checks essential.

  • Bricks should be homogenous and compact.
  • They should have equal proportions of clay, sand, and silt. 
  • Bricks should have requisite plasticity.
  • They should be free from defects like lumps and holes. 
  • The shape of the brick should be rectangular. 
  • A good brick should not break if dropped from a one-meter height.
  • Brick should not possess internal cracking and shrinkage.
  • The brick should be fire and scratch-resistant.
  • Water absorption of brick should not exceed 20 per cent of its dry weight. 
  • The compressive strength of the brick should not be less than 3.5N/mm2.
Good quality bricks
Good quality bricks

To maintain these qualities, testing of bricks should be done. This article discusses the test on bricks that are carried out to ensure the quality of good bricks.

Testing of Bricks – Top 8 tests on bricks

In order to find the quality and sustainability of the bricks, various tests on bricks are performed. Further in this article, we have listed the top 8 tests on bricks.

  • Water absorption test of brick
  • Compressive strength test of brick/ crushing strength test on bricks
  • Hardness test of brick
  • Shape and size test of bricks
  • Colour test of bricks
  • Soundness test of brick
  • Structure of brick test
  • Efflorescence test of brick

Water absorption testing of bricks

A water absorption test of the brick is performed to determine the amount of moisture absorbed by the brick under extreme conditions. The purpose of the water absorption test of bricks is to determine their durability of the bricks. The water absorption test necessitates the use of a weighing machine and a drying oven.

  • Firstly, the brick specimen is dried in a drying oven 
  • After that, weigh the dry specimen using the weighing machine and mark it as W1.
  • Secondly, immerse the brick in water for 24 hours.
  • Then take the brick out and drain the water.
  • Similarly, measure the weight and mark it as W2.
  • Finally using the formula determine the water absorption.

Water absorption = (W1 -W2) / W1 x 100

The moisture content of the brick is thus determined by the difference between the dry weight and the wet weight. Water absorption for high-quality bricks should be less than 20% of the dry weight. This brick test ensures that the brick is long-lasting and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

Compressive strength of brick/Crushing strength of brick

The ability of the brick to withstand a particular load without failure is the compressive strength of the brick.

A compressive strength testing machine is the apparatus for determining the compressive strength of brick.

  • First, Take three sample specimens and submerge them in water. 
  • After 24 hours, drain the water. Fill the frog and void with mortar in a ratio of 1: 3. 
  • Subsequently, store the brick in jute bags for 3 days. 
  • Place the brick in the compression testing machine with the brick frog area facing upwards. After that apply the load slowly.
  • Note down the load at which the bricks break.
  • Finally, using the formula to determine the compressive strength of brick. 

Compressive strength (N/mm2) = Maximum load at bricks fail/ Loaded area of brick

For good quality bricks, the compressive strength should not be less than 3.5 N/mm2

Compressive strength of brick/Crushing strength of brick - Apparatus
Compressive strength of brick/Crushing strength of brick – Apparatus

Efflorescence test on brick – Testing of bricks

A good quality brick should be free of soluble salts. However, If soluble salts are present, they form a white substance on the brick surface. Generally, efflorescence on brick is the name given to this white formation. The test procedure for performing the Efflorescence test on brick is as follows.

  • First, take a brick specimen and submerge it in water for 24 hours. 
  • After 24 hours, drain the brick and allow them to dry.
  • Keenly observe the brick surface.
Brick surface conditionDegree of Efflorescence
No white substanceZero efflorescence
10% white substanceSlight efflorescence
50% white substanceModerate efflorescence
More than 50% white substanceHeavy efflorescence
Efflorescence test on brick – Range
Efflorescence Test on Bricks
Efflorescence Test on Bricks

Hardness test on bricks

The hardness test on bricks is a field verification test. Hence they are performed on-site. A good brick should resist scratches against sharp things. The following is the test procedure for the hardness test on bricks.

  • At first, choose a brick randomly from the stack.
  • Using a nail or finger make a mark on its surface. 
  • If there is no scratch, then it is a good quality brick.

Shape and size Testing of Bricks

A good quality brick should be uniform in size and rectangular in shape. In order to check this, measure the brick on the field. The standard size of the brick is 190mm x 90mm x 90mm.

  • Randomly, choose 20 bricks from the stack.
  • Sort them in length, width and height wise.
  • If the sizes are the same, Then they are good bricks.
shape and size test of bricks
shape and size test of bricks

Colour test of bricks

Normally good quality bricks are deep red or copper colour. The colour test is a field test. Therefore, it can be observed visually.

Structure Test on Bricks

Homogeneity and compact structure are the quality of good bricks. 

  • Randomly, pick one brick from the stack.
  • Cut the brick into two pieces at the centre. 
  • Then observe its inner side.
  • They should be free from defects such as lumps, holes etc. 

Soundness test of bricks

The soundness test of bricks is a field test used to determine the strength of the bricks.

  • In this test, choose two bricks randomly without damage or break.
  • Hit the bricks with each other. 
  • Then, listen to the sound the brick produce. 
  • If a metal ringing sound is produced, then it is good quality bricks. 

Specific Gravity and Water absorption test on Aggregate

Specific gravity and water absorption test are significant tests on aggregates. Perhaps aggregates are the fundamental and essential components of concrete and play a significant role in the design mix of concrete. More than 70 to 80 per cent of the volume of concrete is aggregate. Hence the water absorption and specific gravity test are essential and significant tests .
The specific gravity is the measure of strength of aggregates, while water absorption indicates the porosity of aggregates.

Also Read : Quality tests to be done on Concrete

Also Read : Bitumen – 9 quality tests on bitumen

Tests on Aggregates

Aggregates are the second major ingredient of concrete that contributes around 60 to 70% of its volume. One of the major contributing factors to the concrete quality is the quality of aggregates used therein. The test methods of aggregates are done as per IS 2386 part-4 assists in assessing the quality of aggregates. Following are the tests for analysing the quality of aggregate.

This article is about Specific Gravity and Water absorption test on Aggregate.

Specific gravity and water absorption test

The specific gravity is an indirect measure of the strength of aggregate. Through this test, the general identification of the aggregate becomes easier. Low specific gravity aggregates are weak. Hence, they are not suitable for construction. 

Specific gravity and water absorption test on aggregate.
Specific gravity and water absorption test on aggregate.

Water absorption of aggregate measures the weather resistance. It is the percentage of water the aggregate absorbs when immersed in water. The test method for specific gravity and water absorption test is as follows.

Relevant IS code:

  • IS:2386(Part 4)-1963

Apparatus used:

  • Weighing machine
  • Drying oven 
  • Wire mesh
  • Container
Specific gravity and water absorption testing apparatus
Specific gravity and water absorption testing apparatus

Test procedure

  • For this test, take about 2000g of aggregate and wash them thoroughly with water.
  • Remove the fine particles and dust, then drain the water and place them in the wire basket.
  • Then immerse this in distilled water with a temperature between 22 and 32 degree Celsius for 24 hours.
  • Then Weigh the basket with aggregates and record them as A1.
  • After 24 hours, remove the aggregates from the mesh and weigh them as A2.
  • Then drain the water from the aggregate and Again weigh the dried aggregate. B
  • Place the sample in the dry oven for 24 hours. after the oven drying weighs them and record as C.
  • Now calculate the specific gravity and water absorption of the aggregate using the given formula.

Specific gravity = C / (B- A)

Water absorption = {(B-C)/C} * 100

where, A= A1 – A2, ie weight of the saturated aggregate in water

B = weight of drained aggregate 

C = weight of oven-dried aggregate.

Aggregate with high specific gravity has good strength. The normal value of specific gravity is 2.5 to 3.0. The water absorption should not exceed 0.6%. Thus this test helps to determine the quality, strength and water absorption.

Stones || Quality tests on stones ||Types and procedures

Stones are the form of rocks from the earth’s crust. They find their application in the construction of residential and public buildings, dams, harbours, face-work of structures, road metal, and railway ballast. Besides stones possess good strength and durability.

Also read : 9 lab tests for flexible pavements

Qualities of Good Stone

Generally, we consider good-quality stones for the construction of important engineering structures. The following are the prime requirements of good quality stones.

  • The heavy stones have less porosity and high compactness. Thus the specific gravity of stones should be high.
  • Uniform and appealing colour stones are employed for decorative works.
  • Should possess a homogeneous composition and should have less water absorption.
  • It should have the ability to receive good polish.
  • Moreover, it should be free from iron oxides and calcium carbonate to resist fire.
  • The dense compaction of rocks can withstand the consequences of external agencies.
  • A good stone must be free from quarry sap.
Stones - Quality tests
Stones – Quality tests

Test on stones

To conclude the strength, durability and other engineering properties of the stone, the following tests are performed. 

  • Acid test
  • Attrition test
  • Crushing test
  • Crystalline test
  • Freezing and thawing test
  • Hardness Test
  • Impact test
  • Water absorption test
  • Microscopic Test
  • Smith’s Test

Acid test

The acid tests determine the presence of calcium carbonate in rocks. The test method is as follows,

  • Take some 50 to 100g specimen randomly.
  • Then place them in the solution of sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid having 1% strength for about one week.
  • Frequently mix the solution and immerse the specimen fully.
  • Subsequently, observe the specimen. 
  • Specimen with high lime content causes efflorescence due to the presence of an acid solution.

Attrition test on stones

The attrition test indicates the rate of wear of the stone under the sudden impact of loads. Another name of the attrition test is the abrasion test. The apparatus for the attrition test is Devel’s testing machine.

  • Take some sample specimen and break them into small pieces having 60mm size.
  • Now take 50N of stones and place them in the cylinder of the testing machine. 
  • Then close the cylinder and rotate them for 5 hours at a rate of 30 rpm. 
  • After 5 hours, take the samples outside and sieve them through a 1.5 mm mesh.
  • Weigh the amount of material retained in the sieve and calculate the percentage of wear using the following formula.

Percentage of wear = ( Loss in weight / Initial weight ) x 100

Thus, we get the percentage of wear.


Crushing test on stones

The crushing test gives the strength of the stones. These tests are performed for stones to be used at the bottom of heavy structures.

  • For this test, cut the stone specimens into 40mm x40mmx 40mm and dress the sides.
  • Minimum of three specimens are needed for this test.
  • Before starting, place the specimen in water for 72 hours.
  • Then cover the load-bearing surface of the specimen with a plywood layer.
  • Now place the specimen in the testing machine.
  • Simultaneously, apply load axially at a rate of 13.7 N/mm2 per minute.
  • Note down the load at which the stone breaks. Calculate the strength using the following formula.

Crushing strength = Maximum load at which stone breaks / Loaded area 

However even weak stone possess high compression strength. For example, the crushing strength of stone for ordinary building works should not exceed 1N/mm^2. 

Stone Crystalline test

This test defines the weathering nature of stones. To conduct this test we need at least 4 cubes with 40mm size. The crystallisation of Calcium sulphate causes eroding of stones

  • To start with first, immerse the samples in a solution of sodium sulphate at normal room temperature.
  • After that dry them at 100 degree Celsius and repeat these steps 5 times.
  • Then note down their difference in weight in the percentage of the original weight.
  • The difference in weight shows the weathering quality of the stones. 

Freezing and Thawing Test

As stones in the construction work are exposed to sunlight, wind, rain etc. This test is necessary to carefully study the behaviour of stone. The test procedure is as follows.

  • Take the specimen and immerse it in water for 24 hours.
  • Then place it in a freezing mixture at 12 degree Celsius for 24 hours.
  • Frequently repeat the above two steps and observe the stone quality. 

Besides, perform this test only in the shade to prevent the consequences of rain, sunlight, etc.

Hardness Test

The hardness of the stone is its ability to resist scratch or rebound.

  • For this test, we use a penknife. This can not make a scratch on pard stones like granite.
  • Moh’s scale value determines the hardness of the specimen.
  • For example, Moh’s scale value is 1. Since it is easily scratchable.
  • Likewise for Quartz, Moh’s scale value is 7. Since it cannot be scratched with a knife.

Impact test

The impact test determines the toughness of the stone. The impact testing machine is the apparatus used for this test. The test procedure is as follows.

  • Take a specimen in a cylindrical shape with 25mm diameter and 25mm height. 
  • Then place it on the cast iron anvil of the machine
  • After that, allow a steel hammer of 20N to fall vertically over the specimen
  • The first blow height is at 1cm. For the second blow height, it is 2cm and so on. 
  • Gradually increase the height of the blow. Finally, note down the height at which the specimen breaks. 
  • The height at which the specimen breaks is the toughness index.

Water absorption test

Through this test, we can determine the porosity as well as moisture content. The water absorption test is as follows

  • Prepare a stone sample and record its weight asW1
  • Then immerse the cube in distilled water for 24 hours. 
  • After that wipe the water with a damp piece of cloth. Again weigh the sample as W2.
  • Now suspend the cube freely in water and record its weight as W3.
  • Subsequently, place the cube in boiling water for five hours. Again weigh the cube and record its weight as W4.
  • From the above data, we can also calculate the percentage absorption of water and saturation coefficient using the formula.

Percentage absorption by weight after 24 hours = (W2- W1)/ W * 100

Percentage absorption by volume after 24 hours = (W2 – W1)/( W2 – W1) * 100

Saturation coefficient = Water absorption / Total porosity = (W2- W1) – ( W4- W1)

Microscopic tests on stones

This test helps to study the geology of the stone. The sample is placed for microscopic examination to analyse the below properties.

  • Mineral components
  • Texture and nature of stones
  • Presence of malicious substance
  • Determining defects and pores
  • Size calculation, etc.

Smiths tests

Smith’s test calculates indicates the presence of earth matter in stones. 

  • In this test firstly, break the specimen into small pieces.
  • Then take a test tube with clear water and place these pieces in it.
  • Vigorously shake the test tube. The muddy colour of the water shows the presence of earthy matter.