Determination of the density of hydraulic cement in relation to the design of Portland cement concrete mix

Tools and Materials

  • Standard Le-Chatelier flask as shown below
  • Heavy rubber pad approximately 12 inches × 12 inches square
  • Lead ring weight to fit around the stem of the flask
  • funnel
  • thermometer
  • Portland cement
  • Kerosene
Le-Chatelier Flask
Le-Chatelier Flask

Testing Process

  1. Fill a mark on the stem between the 0 and 1 cm mark with kerosene in the flask. If there is any drop above the liquid level, dry the inside of the flask.
  2. Place the flask in a constant temperature bath and record the initial height of the kerosene in the flask. The constant temperature bath should be maintained at such a temperature that the temperature variation between the initial and final readings within the flask does not exceed 0.2 °C.
  3. Carefully introduce approximately 64 g of cement, weighing to the nearest 0.1 g. Try not to stick the cement to the inside of the flask or to the neck. Cement should be introduced slowly through a funnel. Place the stopper on the flask.
  4. Remove the flask from the bath and place it on a rubber mat. Remove the lead load and manipulate the flask on the mat to release all air bubbles from the flask.
  5. Return the flask to the bath and check the temperature within the flask. If it is within 0.2 °C of the original temperature inside the flask, take the final reading.


The density of hydraulic cement is calculated using the following formula:

Density, p = mass/displaced volume of cement

Conduct density determination on two samples of cement. If they are 0.03 g/cm. are no different than3, take the average. Otherwise, run three additional determinations until 0.03 g/cm. fail to find a pair of valves inside3,

Record the readings and complete the following data sheet.

sample number





Initial bath temperature, °C
final height, cm
initial height, cm
Displaced volume, cm3
Last bath temperature, °C
Specific gravity = 64 g/displacement, cm3
Average specific gravity of accepted sample result =

Er. Mukesh Kumar

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Er. Mukesh Kumar is Editor in Chief and Co-Funder at Civil Engineering Website. Mukesh Kumar is a Bachelor in Civil Engineering From MIT. He has work experience in Highway Construction, Bridge Construction, Railway Steel Girder work, Under box culvert construction, Retaining wall construction. He was a lecturer in a Engineering college for more than 6 years.