ASTM C457 / C457M - 12

    Standard Test Method for Microscopical Determination of Parameters of the Air-Void System in Hardened Concrete

    Active Standard ASTM C457 / C457M | Developed by Subcommittee: C09.65

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.02


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 The parameters of the air-void system of hardened concrete determined by the procedures described in this test method are related to the susceptibility of the cement paste portion of the concrete to damage by freezing and thawing. Hence, this test method can be used to develop data to estimate the likelihood of damage due to cyclic freezing and thawing or to explain why it has occurred. The test method can also be used as an adjunct to the development of products or procedures intended to enhance the resistance of concrete to cyclic freezing and thawing (1).

    5.2 Values for parameters of the air-void system can be obtained by either of the procedures described in this test method.

    5.3 No provision is made for distinguishing among entrapped air voids, entrained air voids, and water voids. Any such distinction is arbitrary, because the various types of voids intergrade in size, shape, and other characteristics. Reports that do make such a distinction typically define entrapped air voids as being larger than 1 mm in at least one dimension being irregular in shape, or both. The honey-combing that is a consequence of the failure to compact the concrete properly is one type of entrapped air void (9, 10).

    5.4 Water voids are cavities that were filled with water at the time of setting of the concrete. They are significant only in mixtures that contained excessive mixing water or in which pronounced bleeding and settlement occurred. They are most common beneath horizontal reinforcing bars, pieces of coarse aggregate and as channelways along their sides. They occur also immediately below surfaces that were compacted by finishing operations before the completion of bleeding.

    5.5 Application of the paste-air ratio procedure is necessary when the concrete includes large nominal maximum size aggregate, such as 50 mm [2 in.] or more. Prepared sections of such concrete should include a maximum of the mortar fraction, so as to increase the number of counts on air voids or traverse across them. The ratio of the volume of aggregate to the volume of paste in the original mix must be accurately known or estimated to permit the calculation of the air-void systems parameters from the microscopically determined paste-air ratio.

    Note 1The air-void content determined in accordance with this test method usually agrees closely with the value determined on the fresh concrete in accordance with Test Methods C138/C138M, C173/C173M, or C231 (11). However, significant differences may be observed if the sample of fresh concrete is consolidated to a different degree than the sample later examined microscopically. For concrete with a relatively high air content (usually over 7.5 %), the value determined microscopically may be higher by one or more percentage points than that determined by Test Method C231.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method describes procedures for microscopical determinations of the air content of hardened concrete and of the specific surface, void frequency, spacing factor, and paste-air ratio of the air-void system in hardened concrete (1).2 Two procedures are described:

    1.1.1 Procedure A, the linear-traverse method (2, 3).

    1.1.2 Procedure B, the modified point-count method (3, 4, 5, 6).

    1.2 This test method is based on prescribed procedures that are applied to sawed and lapped sections of specimens of concrete from the field or laboratory.

    1.3 It is intended to outline the principles of this test method and to establish standards for its adequate performance but not to describe in detail all the possible variations that might be used to accomplish the objectives of this test method.

    1.4 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific hazard statements see 8.3 and 10.1.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C42/C42M Test Method for Obtaining and Testing Drilled Cores and Sawed Beams of Concrete

    C125 Terminology Relating to Concrete and Concrete Aggregates

    C138/C138M Test Method for Density (Unit Weight), Yield, and Air Content (Gravimetric) of Concrete

    C173/C173M Test Method for Air Content of Freshly Mixed Concrete by the Volumetric Method

    C231 Test Method for Air Content of Freshly Mixed Concrete by the Pressure Method

    C666/C666M Test Method for Resistance of Concrete to Rapid Freezing and Thawing

    C670 Practice for Preparing Precision and Bias Statements for Test Methods for Construction Materials

    C672/C672M Test Method for Scaling Resistance of Concrete Surfaces Exposed to Deicing Chemicals

    C823 Practice for Examination and Sampling of Hardened Concrete in Constructions

    C856 Practice for Petrographic Examination of Hardened Concrete

    D92 Test Method for Flash and Fire Points by Cleveland Open Cup Tester

    American Concrete Institute Standards

    211.1 Recommended Practice for Selecting Proportions for Normal, Heavyweight, and Mass Concrete


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 91.100.30 (Concrete and concrete products)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30111500(Concrete and mortars)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/C0457_C0457M-12

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM C457 / C457M-12, Standard Test Method for Microscopical Determination of Parameters of the Air-Void System in Hardened Concrete, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2012, www.astm.org

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