Rebound Hammer Test
1. objective and Principle
The rebound hammer method could be used for:
(i) assessing the likely compressive strength of concrete with the help of suitable corelations
between rebound index and compressive strength,
(ii) assessing the uniformity of concrete,
(iii) assessing the quality of the concrete in relation to standard requirements, and
(iv) assessing the quality of one element of concrete in relation to another.
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 is read off along a graduated scale and
is designated as the rebound number or rebound index.
2. apparatus required
Fig. 1: Rebound Hammer
It consists of a spring controlled mass that slides on a plunger within a tubular housing.
The impact energy required for rebound hammers for different applications is given in Table 1.
||Approx. Impact Energy required for Rebound hammer (Nm)
||For Testing Normal Weight Concrete
||For light-weight concrete or small and impact sensitive parts of concrete
||For testing mass concrete for example, in roads, air field pavements and hydraulic structures
Table 1 : Impact Energy for Rebound hammer for different Applications.
IS-13311 (Part 2):1992 (Reaffirmed- May 2013) “Non Destructive Testing of Concrete-Methods of Test (Rebound hammer)”.
4.1 Checking of Apparatus
It is necessary that the rebound hammer is checked against the testing anvil before commencement
of a test to ensure reliable results. The testing anvil should be of steel having
Brinell hardness 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 hammers.
4.2 Procedure of 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 cube 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 minimise
the size effect on the test result of a full scale structure. 150 mm cube specimens are preferred
for calibrating rebound hammers of lower impact energy (2.2 Nm), whereas for rebound hammers of
higher impact energy, for example 30 Nm, the test cubes should not be smaller than 300 mm.
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 cube 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 20 mm and should be not less than 20
mm from each other. The same points must not be impacted more than once.
4.3 Test Procedure
For testing, smooth, clean and dry surface is to be selected. If loosely adhering scale is
present, this should be rubbed of with a grinding wheel or stone. Rough surfaces resulting
from incomplete compaction, loss of grout, spalled or tooled surfaces do not give reliable
results and should be avoided.
The point of impact should be at least 20 mm away from any edge or shape discontinuity.
For taking a measurement, the rebound hammer should be held at right angles to the surface
of the concrete member. The test can thus be conducted horizontally on vertical surfaces
or vertically upwards or downwards on horizontal surfaces. If the situation demands, the
rebound hammer can be held at intermediate angles also, but in each case, the rebound number
will be different for the same concrete.
Rebound hammer test is conducted around all the points of observation on all accessible
faces of the structural element. Concrete surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before taking
any measurement. 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 becomes
the rebound index for the point of observation.
5. Influence of Test Conditions:
The rebound numbers are influenced by a number of factors like types of cement and
aggregate, surface condition and moisture content, age of concrete and extent of
carbonation of concrete.
5.1 Influence of Type of Cement
Concretes made with high alumina cement can give strengths 100 percent higher than that with
ordinary Portland cement. Concretes made with super sulphated cement can give 50 percent
lower strength than that with ordinary Portland cement.
5.2 Influence of Type of Aggregate
Different types of aggregate used in concrete give different correlations between compressive
strength and rebound numbers. Normal aggregates such as gravels and crushed rock aggregates
give similar correlations, but concrete made with light weight aggregates require special calibration.
5.3 Influence of Surface Condition and Moisture Content of Concrete
The rebound hammer method is suitable only for close texture concrete. Open texture concrete
typical of masonry blocks, honeycombed concrete or no-fines concrete are unsuitable for this
test. All correlations assume full compaction, as the strength of partially compacted concrete
bears no unique relationship to the rebound numbers. Trowelled and floated surfaces
are harder than moulded surfaces, and tend to over estimate the strength of concrete.
A wet surface will give rise to under estimation of the strength of concrete calibrated under
dry conditions. In structural concrete, this can be about 20 percent lower than in an equivalent
5.4 Influence of Curing and Age of Concrete
The relationship between hardness and strength
varies as a function of time. Variations in
initial rate of hardening, subsequent curing
and conditions of exposure also influence the
relationship. Separate calibration curves are
required for different curing regimes but the
effect of age can generally be ignored for
concrete between 3 days and 3 months old.
5.5 Influence of Carbonation of Concrete Surface
The influence of carbonation of concrete
surface on the rebound number is very
significant. Carbonated concrete gives an overestimate
of strength which in extreme cases can
be up to 50 percent. It is possible to establish
correction factors by removing the carbonated
layer and testing the concrete with the rebound
hammer on the uncarbonated concrete.
6. Interpretation of Result
The rebound hammer method provides a
convenient and rapid indication of the compressive
strength of concrete by means of
establishing a suitable correlation between the
rebound index and the compressive strength of
concrete. The procedure of obtaining such
correlation is given in 4.2.
It is also pointed out that rebound indices are
indicative of compressive strength of concrete
to a limited depth from the surface. If the concrete
in a particular member has internal microcracking,
flaws or heterogeneity across the
cross-section, rebound hammer indices will not
indicate the same.
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
checked 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 are greatly increased.