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Millions upon millions of dollars change hands daily in various segments of the concrete industry, based on evidence obtained from samples. Yet, in most instances, the sample is obtained in an indifferent manner by someone who is ignorant of the basic principles of sampling (frequently a laborer or warehouseman), of the use the sample is to be put to, of the testing details to be performed on the sample, and of the final decisions to be based on or derived from the test results—all very important factors that should be taken into account in the sampling process. There appears to be no adequate appreciation of the importance of sampling by those who should be concerned about the problems resulting from poor sampling—those who have to make important decisions and set policy based on test results from samples—this despite the cost of the large volume of samples and testing in the concrete field and the larger economic significance of conclusions which are derived from these. On the other hand, other industries confronted with similar problems have gone to great pains to develop reliable and efficient methods and procedures. The coal, fertilizer, ore, and abrasives industries [1–3] which have sampling problems similar to those found, for example, in aggregates, have gone a long ways in developing criteria and methods that increase the probabilities of proper sampling. Basic fundamental principles and approaches that can be of help in developing sampling details for the various segments of the concrete industry have been developed by ASTM Committee E-11 or its members [4–7], Other sampling procedures for concrete and concrete ingredients, that range from indifferent to good, may be found in various ASTM standards (see Appendix) and handbooks and manuals [8–10].
Abdun-Nur, E. A.
Consulting engineer, Denver, Colo.