Non Destructive testing by Schmidt Hammer as per provisions of IS: 13311 – 1992

Introduction (Schmidt Hammer):

This is a simple, handy tool, which can be used to provide a convenient and rapid indication of the compressive strength of concrete. It consists of a spring controlled mass that slides on a plunger within a tubular housing. The schematic diagram showing various parts of a rebound
hammer is given as Fig.


The rebound hammer method could be used for
(a) Assessing the likely compressive strength of concrete with the help of suitable co
between rebound index and compressive strength.
(b) Assessing the uniformity of concrete.
(c) Assessing the quality of concrete in relation to standard requi
(d) Assessing the quality of one element of concrete in relation to another
This method can be used with greater confidence for differentiating between the questionable and acceptable parts of a structure or for relative comparison between two


The method is based on the principle that the rebound of an elastic mass depends on the hardness of the surface against which mass strikes. When the plunger of rebound hammer is pressed against the surface of the concrete, the spring controlled mass rebounds and the extent of such rebound depends upon the surface hardness of concrete. The surface hardness and therefore the rebound is taken to be related to the compressive strength of the concrete. The rebound value is read a graduated scale and is designated as the rebound number or rebound index. The compressive strength can be read directly from the graph provided on the body of the hammer.


Before commencement of a test, the rebound hammer should be tested against the test anvil, to get reliable results. The testing anvil should be of steel having Brinell hardness number of about 5000 N/mm2. The supplier/manufacturer of the rebound hammer should indicate the range of readings on
the anvil suitable for different types of rebound hammer.
For taking a measurement, the hammer should be held at right angles to the surface of the structure. The test thus can be conducted horizontally on vertical surface and vertically upwards or downwards on horizontal surfaces .

Fig :Various positions of Rebound Hammer
If the situation so demands, the hammer can be held at intermediate angles also, but in each case, the rebound number will be different for the same concrete.
The following should be observed during
(a) The surface should be smooth, clean and dry
(b) The loosely adhering scale should be rubbed off with a grinding wheel or stone, before testing.
(c) Do not conduct test on rough surfaces resulting from incomplete compaction, loss of grout,
spalled or tooled surfaces.
(d) The point of impact should be at least 20mm away from edge or shape discontinuity.
Around each point of observation, six readings of rebound indices are taken and average of these
readings after deleting outliers as per IS 8900:1978 is taken as the rebound index for the point of

Procedure for obtaining correlation between compressive strength of concrete and rebound number:

The most satisfactory way of establishing a correlation between compressive strength of concrete and its rebound number is to measure both the properties simultaneously on concrete cubes. The concrete cubes specimens are held in a compression testing machine under a fixed load, measurements of rebound number taken and then the compressive strength determined as per IS 516: 1959. The fixed load required is of the order of 7 N/ mm2 when the impact energy of the hammer is about 2.2 Nm. The load should be increased for calibrating rebound hammers of greater impact energy and decreased for calibrating rebound hammers of lesser impact energy. The test specimens should be as large a mass as possible in order to minimize the size effect on the test result of a full scale structure. 150mm cube specimens are preferred for calibrating rebound hammers of lower impact energy (2.2Nm), whereas for rebound hammers of higher impact energy, for example 30 Nm, the test cubes should not be smaller than 300mm.
If the specimens are wet cured, they should be removed from wet storage and kept in the laboratory atmosphere for about 24 hours before testing. To obtain a correlation between rebound numbers and strength of wet cured and wet tested cubes, it is necessary to establish a correlation between the strength of wet tested cubes and the strength of dry tested cubes on which rebound readings are taken. A direct correlation between rebound numbers on wet cubes and the strength of wet cubes is not recommended. Only the vertical faces of the cubes as cast should be tested. At least nine readings should be taken on each of the two vertical faces accessible in the compression testing machine when using the rebound hammers. The points of impact on the specimen must not be nearer an edge than 20mm and should be not less than 20 mm from each other. The same points must not be impacted more than once.

Interpretation of results:

After obtaining the correlation between compressive strength and rebound number, the strength of structure can be assessed. In general, the rebound number increases as the strength increases and is also affected by a number of parameters i.e. type of cement, type of aggregate, surface condition and moisture content of the concrete, curing and age of concrete, carbonation of concrete surface etc. Moreover the rebound index is indicative of compressive strength of concrete upto a limited depth from the surface. The internal cracks, flaws etc. or heterogeneity across the cross section will not be indicated by rebound numbers. As such the estimation of strength of concrete by rebound hammer method cannot be held to be very accurate and probable accuracy of prediction of concrete strength in a structure is ± 25 percent. If the relationship between rebound index and compressive strength can be found by tests on core samples obtained from the structure or standard specimens made with the same concrete materials and mix proportion, then the accuracy of results and confidence thereon gets greatly increased.


The rebound hammer testing can be carried out as per IS IS-13311 (Pt.2).

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