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To determine the penetration value of given Bitumen

The consistency of bituminous material varies depending up on several factors such as constituents, temperature, etc. Determination of absolute viscosity of bituminous material is not so easy.  Therefore, the consistencies of these materials are determined by indirect method. Penetration value is an indirect method of measurement of hardness or consistency of bituminous material. It is the vertical distance traversed or penetrated by the point of a standard needle into the bituminous material under specific conditions of load, time and temperature. This distance is measured in one tenth of a millimeter. Softer the bitumen greater will be the penetration. The penetration test is widely used for classifying the bitumen in to different grades.  The BIS has standardised the penetration test equipment and the test procedure. It is not regarded as suitable for use in connection with the testing of road tar because of the high surface tension exhibited by these materials and the fact that they contain relatively large amount of free carbon. 


a) Container - A metal or glass cylindrical, flat bottom container of essentially the following dimensions shall be used: 
For penetrations below 225: 
Diameter, mm - 55 
Internal depth, mm - 35 
For penetrations between 225 and 350: 
Diameter, mm - 70 
Internal depth, mm - 45 

b)  Needle- A straight highly polished cylindrical stainless  steel rod. The needle is provided with a shank approximately 3 mm in diameter into which it is immovably fixed. The taper shall be symmetrical and the point shall be 'blunted' by grinding to a truncated cone. 

c)  Water Bath - A water bath preferably with a thermostat maintained at 25.0 ± 0.1 °C (containing not less than 10 litres of water.  The sample being 
immersed to a depth of not less than 100 mm from the top and supported on a perforated shelf not less than 50 mm from the bottom of the bath. 
d)  Transfer Dish - A small dish or tray, provided with some means which ensure a firm bearing and prevent the rocking of the container, and of such capacity as will ensure complete immersion of the container during the test. 

e)  Thermometer – a thermometer of range 0 to 44 °C. 

f)  Time device- For hand operated penetrometers, a timer device or stop watch, accurate to 0.1 second. 


1.  The bitumen is heated to a pouring consistency, about 75 to 100°C above the temperature at which bitumen softens. The sample is thoroughly stirred to make it homogeneous and free from air bubbles and water. 
2.  The sample is poured into the container of 35 mm depth (to a depth at least 10 mm more than the expected penetration). 
3.  The sample containers are placed on the transfer tray and cooled in atmosphere at temperature between 15 to 30 °C for 60 to 90 minutes. 
4.  Transfer the tray with containers is placed in the thermostatically controlled water bath maintained at a temperature of 25.0±0.1 °C for a period of 60 to 90 minutes (for testing bitumen with penetration value between 225 and 350, the container of depth 45 mm and diameter 70mm is used and the cooling period in atmosphere and in water bath is 90 to 120 minutes each.) 
5.  The transfer tray with sample container and water is removed from the water bath and placed under the needle of penetrometer. 
6.  Using adjusting screw, the needle assembly is lowered and the tip of the needle is made to just touch the top surface of bitumen sample and the needle assembly is clamped in this position. 
7.  The contact of the tipoff the needle is checked using the mirror placed on the rear of the needle.  The initial reading of penetrometer dial is either adjusted to zero or the initial reading is taken before releasing the needle.
8.  The needle is released exactly for a period of5.0 seconds by pressing the knob and the final reading is taken on the dial. 
9. The needle assembly is then raised and the penetration needle is removed and replaced by a clean, dry needle. 
10. At least three such measurements are made on this sample at testing distance of not less than 10 mm apart. After each test the needle is designated and cleaned with benzene and carefully dried. The test is repeated on the sample in the other containers, after keeping in the water bath maintained at a temperature of 25°C.  


Period of curing in atmosphere = 
Period of curing in water bath =  

Penetrometer Dial Reading

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3









Penetration Value




Mean penetration value =

Penetration value of bitumen = 

Penetration test is most commonly adopted test in bitumen to determine the grade of material in terms of its hardness because of its simplicity. The penetration grades of bitumen are generally denoted as 80/100, 60/70, or 30/40 grade bitumen. 80/100 bitumen denote that the penetration value of the binder ranges between 80 and 100. The penetration value of various type of bitumen used in pavement construction in this country ranges between 20 to 225. The appropriate grade of bitumen binder to be used for road construction work is decided depending upon the climatic condition of the project site, the type of construction / specification and the pavement layer (base course binder / course surface / course).  Harder grade of bitumen binder with lower penetration value is generally used in warm region. In cooler region bitumen with higher penetration value is generally used. However, binders which become very stiff at low temperature are not preferred for road construction in region with cold weather. 
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Reference Code : IS:8887-2004

To test the Bitumen Emulsion for coagulation at low temperature to ensure the homogeneity and stability, if exposed or stored at sub-zero temperature. 

a)  Boiling tube 
b)  Water bath 
c)  Refrigerator 
d)  Glass rod 
e)  600-micron IS sieve 
f)  Beakers -Two, 600 ml capacity 
1.  Sieve bitumen emulsion through 600-micron IS sieve 
2.  20 ml of previously sieved homogenous bitumen emulsion is transferred in to a boiling tube 
3.  The temperature of this boiling tube is brought to 30°C by plunging the tube into water bath previously set at 30°C with gentle stirring by a glass rod. 
4.  Once the temperature of bitumen emulsion is constant at 30°C, the tube is plunged into ice bath or refrigerator previously set to 0°C with slow stirring by rod. 
5.  Once the temperature of emulsion reaches 0°C, discontinue stirring and the tube  is  transferred  into  another  beaker  with  a  freezing  mixture at a temperature of -3 to -4°C for 30 minutes. 
6.  Finally, the tube is removed from refrigerator and brought to room temperature without any disturbance 
7.  The emulsion is filtered through 600 micron IS sieve and sieve is washed with distilled water and checked for residual bitumen coagulation.


The emulsion has passed the test, if there is no coagulation. 
As per IS 8887:2004, coagulation at Low Temperature should be NIL
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Soils are formed by weathering of rocks due to Mechanical disintegration or Chemical decomposition. When rock surface are exposed to atmosphere for considerable period of time, 
( contineous heating and cooling of rock )  result in  disintegrates or decomposes to form soil.

Formation of Soil also happens due to physical reaction and chemical reaction over the surface

1. Physical Disintegration
2. Chemical decomposition of rocks
Soil Classification is separation of soil into classes or groups each having similar characteristics and behaviour. Classification for engineering purpose should be based mainly on mechanical properties.
Like: Permeability, Stiffness, Strength etc.,

Classification based on Grain Size
Soil particles 
       1.Fine soil
  • below 0.002mm are clay
  • between 0.002 to 0.075mm are silt
      2. Coares grained soil

  • between 0.075 to 4.75mm are sand
  • between 4.75 to 80mm are gravel size

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What is Compaction?
Compaction is said to be compression of soil by expulsion of air from voids. It is a quick process, requires short term loading. Dynamic loading is applied during compaction, both cohesion and cohesionless soil can be compacted. Compaction is always done to get maximum dry density, which helps in improving bearing capacity. Compaction is done before start of construction. Mostly done in Construction of roads, Embankment, dam etc.,

What is Consolidation?
Consolidation is said to be compression of soil by expulsion of water from voids. It is a slow process, requires long term loading. Static or constant loading is applied (some times happen naturally), only cohesive soil can be consolidated. Consolidation is done naturally by structural loads from foundation. Consolidation is done naturally during the process of Construction. (Some times happen with natural settlement)

Brickwork Construction
In most of the building construction projects brick is used in an higher proportion nearly about 70 to 80%. So, estimating the quantity of bricks and other material for construction is the basic step to do construction in an economy way.

  1. Bricks used in the construction is available in different sizes based on the location for our present study let us take a standard size of  modular brick is 190 X 90 X 90 mm.
  2. Assume Mortar thickness as 10 mm
  3. Cement mortar ratio 1:6
  4. Calculation is done for Brickwork volume 1cum (1 cubic metre) - Volume of your brickwork

Volume of bricks with mortar

Volume of 1 brick with mortar = 200 X 100 X 100 ( 10 mm mortar thickness on all sides)

                                                  = 0.2 X 0.1 X 0.1

Volume of brick with mortar = 0.002 Cum (m3)

Number of Bricks required for 1 cubic metre = 1/0.002 = 500 Numbers

Volume of bricks without mortar

Volume of 1 brick without mortar = 190 X 90 X 90

                                                       = 0.19 X 0.09 X 0.09 (converting to metre)

Volume of 1 brick without mortar  =  0.001539 Cum (m3)

Volume of 500 bricks without mortar = 500 X 0.001539 Cum

Volume of bricks without mortar for 1 cum = 0.7695 Cum  (m3)

Required amount of cement mortar = 1 Cum – Volume of bricks without mortar

                                                         = 1 – 0.7695

Required amount of Cement Mortar  = 0.2305 Cum  (m3) (Wet Condition)

The Calculated volume is in a wet condition that means we need 0.2305 cum cement mortar in mixed condition (after mixing water). In order to find the dry volume, we need to multiply 33 % as bulkage of sand.

Dry volume of a mortar = 0.2305 cum X 1.33 = 0.306565 cum

Mortar Ratio is 1:6
1 part cement and 6 part sand, total part 1+6 =7
Density of cement = 1440 kg, multiplying the 1440 kg density of cement with dry volume of mortar to calculate the cement quantity.
1= cement part
7= total 
Required amount Cement quantity in brickwork = 0.306565 X 1/7 X 1440 kg

Required amount Cement quantity = 63 Kg = 1.26 bags
Approximately 1.26 bags if the bacg is 50 Kg

6 = Sand part
7 = total
Required amount of Sand = 0.306565 X 6/7 = 0.26277 Cubic metre

For 1Cubic metre of Brickwork, we require

  • 500 Bricks
  • 63 Kg Cement 
  • 0.263 cum sand

Android app for Brickwork Calculator 
Windows Version