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When contractors apply a coating to concrete (i.e. primer or membrane), there are specific requirements to ensure the coating will properly seal to the concrete and last well into the future.

The method that pertains to adhesion testing of concrete (either tensile or shear strength) is ASTM C1583: Standard Test Method for Tensile Strength of Concrete Surfaces and the Bond Strength or Tensile Strength of Concrete Repair and Overlay Materials by Direct Tension (Pull-off Method).

Fenagh has experience performing this test using an adhesion-testing device called an Elcometer. For this inspection, Fenagh has 2 x 1 inch dollies that the Elcometer hooks on to. The dolly is then used to apply some type of force at a constant rate of load. The Elcometer then produces/measures a value of some type of strength whether that’s in PSI, Pascals, or Newton.

This test is somewhat similar to another type of test we do using the PosiTest AT-M, another type of adhesion-testing device. We typically use this for membrane testing when the contractor applies a moisture mitigation membrane around a concrete footing to allow the concrete not to be saturated with water over time, preventing flooding and things of that nature.

However, the Elcometer is different from the PosiTest, because it’s mostly used for concrete surfaces when you’re using force to pull on the concrete.

One of the projects Fenagh has used the Elcometer device for is the MBTA North Station project in New England, where we’re testing both the slabs for the Green line and the Orange line. The testing took place on the platforms where passengers wait for their trains.

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