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Concrete testing services

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BRE has extensive facilities for the casting, curing and testing of concrete both to recognised standards and to specific customer requirements.

About our concrete testing facilities

We can prepare and test concrete, associated materials and products and assess the durability and performance of these materials.

BRE has extensive facilities for the casting, curing, and testing of concrete both to recognised standards and to specific customer requirements.

Operating since 1921, we have an enviable resource of historic test data which can be invaluable when comparing the performance of innovative materials with traditional products. Innovative materials include; aggregates, cement replacement or supplementary cementitious materials, alternative low carbon cements, or novel additives to enhance strength and durability performance of concrete.

We also have laboratory facilities for the preparation of petrographic thin sections and their subsequent analysis using optical microscopy.

Contact us to start your journey.

About our concrete testing facilities

We offer research, testing and consultancy support to a range of sectors, including manufacturers, contractors, rail and highway infrastructure, and others. We can help develop concrete mix designs through the assessment of hardened, structural and durability performance under a wide range of conditions. We undertake testing to many BS EN 12350 and BS EN 12390 suites of standards, as well as other British and International standards, and bespoke or in-house tests upon consultation:

Standard Number Test
BS 1881-125:2013 Laboratory casting
BS EN 12350-2:2019 Slump
BS EN 12350-3:2019 Vebe
BS EN 12350-5:2019 Flow Table
BS EN 12350-6:2019 Wet Density
BS EN 12350-7:2019 Air Content
BS EN 12350-8:2019 Slump-flow
BS EN 12350-10:2010 L-box
BS EN 12350-12:2010 J-ring
BS EN 12390-3 Compressive Strength
BS EN 12390-5 Flexural Strength
BS EN 12390-6 Tensile Splitting Strength
BS EN 12390-7 Hardened Density
BS EN 12390-8 Water Penetration
PD CEN/TS 12390-9 Freeze-Thaw (Scaling)
BS EN 12390-10 Natural Carbonation
BS EN 12390-12 Accelerated Carbonation
fib Bulletin 34 Inverse Carbonation Resistance
BS EN 12390-13 Secant Modulus of Elasticity
BS EN 12390-16 Shrinkage
BS EN 12390-17 Compressive Creep
BS EN 12390-18 Chloride Migration
NT Build 492
BS EN 12504-1 Compressive test on cores
BS 812-123 Alkali Silica Reaction (ASR)
ASTM C1012 Sulphates
BSI Flex 350 Class 2/Class 5 Sulfate Immersion
BSI Flex 350 Acid Resistance at pH 2.5 Immersion
BS EN 14651 Fibre reinforced concrete flexural strength
BS EN 14488-3 Sprayed fibre reinforced concrete flexural strength
BS EN 14488-7 Fibre content test - hardened
BS EN 13892-4 Abrasion resistance - BCA
BS EN 13230-1 Abrasion resistance - Taber
BS 1881-122 Water absorption
BS EN 480-5 Mortar capillary absorption

Concrete durability

In 2005, BRE published Special Digest (SD1), which provides practical guidance on the specification of concrete for installation in natural ground and in brownfield locations. Our expert team can assess sulfate resistance of concretes in conditions to reflect aggressive ground conditions. We can also conduct performance tests for carbonation, freeze-thaw resistance, alkali silica reaction (ASR), chloride migration and others.

We can prepare petrographic thin sections and carry out subsequent expert examination using optical microscopy. Concrete petrography is an integral aspect of concrete analysis and has considerable benefits when undertaking projects relating to the performance of concrete. Petrography is particularly beneficial when there is a requirement to investigate failures or undertake diagnostic examinations when a detailed microscopic study is needed.

Assessments against concrete design classes such as described in the concrete standards EN 206 and BS 8500 can be undertaken within our durability testing laboratories. For example, we can carry out accelerated freeze-thaw testing of  concrete products and can simultaneously expose XF class concretes that are designed to withstand specific freeze-thaw conditions; comparative performance can then be evaluated.

Specific and Engineering testing

In addition to investigating the properties of the concrete itself, within our facilities we can undertake testing of associated products such as admixtures (EN 934) and products associated with the protection and repair of concrete (EN 1504). Design approval testing of prestressed monoblock railway sleepers can also be undertaken in accordance with BS EN 13230-2.

Exposure sites

Our secure exposure sites for long term exposure of concrete test specimens include:

Marine exposure site at Portsmouth on the south coast of England. Offers continuous sea water immersion and fully exposed (outdoor) exposure. Assessments over time can include chloride ingress profiles with depth, visual assessment, carbonation and strength retention (relative to laboratory water stored reference specimens). Large concrete elements (including reinforced) can also be accommodated.

Natural outdoor exposure site at BRE, Garston at an inland suburban location in southern England. Offers continuous fully exposed (outdoor) exposure. Assessments over time can include visual assessment and carbonation. Large concrete elements can also be accommodated.

Low carbon concretes

BRE has many years of experience in research, testing and consultancy on low carbon cements and concretes that provide lower carbon alternatives to Portland cements (PC or CEM I), including access to our long-term testing capabilities/secure exposure sites.

Publications about concrete testing

Publications about concrete testing

Read more about petrographic examinations, which are a powerful tool when testing and assessing a range of natural and cementitious construction materials.

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Publications about concrete testing