Published on 02-Mar-2024

Determine the strength of concrete using Rebound Hammer Test

Determine the strength of concrete using Rebound Hammer Test

Table of Content

  • What is the Rebound Hammer Test?
  • Basic Principles of the Rebound Hammer Test
  • Importance of the Rebound Hammer Test in Material Strength Assessment
  • Equipment Employed in the Test, Including the Rebound Hammer 
  • Concept of Rebound Values and Their Relevance to Material Strength Calculations
  • Conducting the Rebound Hammer Test
  • Conclusion

What is the Rebound Hammer Test?

In the realm of structural engineering and material science, the pursuit of evaluating structural integrity without causing harm or disruption has been an enduring challenge.

Enter non-destructive testing (NDT), a set of techniques that have become indispensable in the quest to analyze materials and structures with precision and safety.

Among these techniques, the Rebound Hammer Test has established itself as a venerable and essential method.

Non-destructive Testing (NDT) is the bedrock of evaluating materials, components, and assemblies without inflicting damage or altering their functionality.

It plays a pivotal role in the safety and longevity of critical structures such as bridges, buildings, and dams.

In the realm of NDT, the Rebound Hammer Test has risen as a cornerstone tool for assessing concrete structures' compressive strength, uniformity, and structural robustness.

The History of the Rebound Hammer Test can be traced to the mid-20th century when the need for a dependable method to gauge concrete structures' quality became evident.

Conceived in the 1940s, this ingenious test owes its genesis to Ernst Schmidt, a Swiss engineer who sought a non-intrusive means to evaluate concrete's compressive strength.

Schmidt's pioneering efforts led to the development of a deceptively simple yet profoundly effective instrument that gauged concrete's surface hardness through rebound.

Schmidt's invention wrought a revolution in concrete testing. Before the Rebound Hammer Test, destructive methods, like core drilling, were commonplace for assessing concrete strength.

However, these techniques often proved impractical, expensive, and, most importantly, deleterious to the structure under scrutiny.

The Rebound Hammer Test presented an alternative—a non-invasive solution offering crucial insights into concrete quality while preserving the structural integrity of the test subject.

Over the years, the Rebound Hammer Test has evolved and found applications in a wide variety of industries.

From civil engineering to construction, where concrete upholds crucial infrastructure projects, this test's versatility, simplicity, and reliability have made it an indispensable tool for engineers and quality control experts.

It ensures that concrete structures meet rigorous safety and performance criteria.

There's More to Explore, Step By Step Guide: How To Create Accurate Pipeline Isometric Drawings

Basic Principles of the Rebound Hammer Test

The Rebound Hammer Test, commonly referred to as the Schmidt Hammer Test, is a method employed to assess the hardness and compressive strength of materials, with a particular emphasis on concrete.

This technique operates on fundamental principles of physics, which include:

  • Impact and Rebound

The procedure initiates with the application of the rebound hammer to the material's surface under evaluation.

At the extremity of the hammer resides a substantial steel mass.

Upon release, this mass impinges upon the material's surface, whereupon it subsequently rebounds.

  • Rebound Velocity

Significantly, the velocity of the rebounding mass is directly contingent upon the hardness and compressive strength of the material.

Materials characterized by lesser hardness or strength will incite a more vigorous rebound velocity.

Conversely, more robust, and resilient materials will yield a lowered rebound velocity.

  • Measurement of Rebound

The rebound is precisely gauged via the instrument's integrated scale or dial.

This scale furnishes a numerical value denoting the extent of the rebound, typically shown as a percentage relative to a reference material, conventionally a test anvil.

Importance of the Rebound Hammer Test in Material Strength Assessment

The Rebound Hammer Test is considered one of the most commonly employed non-destructive testing methods for the following reasons:

  • Non-Destructive Nature

Primarily, it is a Non-destructiveTesting modality. Consequently, it circumvents any impairment or alteration to the material under scrutiny.

It is eminently suited for the evaluation of materials, most notably concrete, without incurring any deleterious consequences.

  • Faster Analysis

The test proffers an expedited analysis, rendering outcomes virtually instantaneously.

The speed of obtaining the Rebound Hammer Test values proves invaluable, particularly in construction projects where expeditious evaluations of material strength are requisite.

  • Economical Assessment Process

Unlike alternative methods that necessitate core drilling or specimen extraction, the Rebound Hammer Test is cost-effective.

Its implementation obviates the requirement for additional materials and labor-intensive procedures, thereby resulting in fiscal savings.

  • On-Site Applicability

It is amenable to on-site execution, a quality that renders it eminently suited for the evaluation of concrete structures in situ.

This attribute makes it particularly apt for assessments of buildings, bridges, and pavements.

Equipment Employed in the Test, Including the Rebound Hammer 

The Rebound Hammer Test apparatus includes the following important elements:

  • Rebound Hammer

Central to the execution of the test is the rebound hammer itself.

This instrument is characterized by a cylindrical configuration, housing a spring-loaded mass at one extremity and a striking plunger at the other.

The design prioritizes portability, ease of handling, and compactness.

  • Scale or Dial

The rebound hammer is equipped with a calibrated scale or dial.

This instrument serves as the repository for the rebound value, which assumes the form of a numerical reading.

This reading signifies the extent of the rebound in relation to reference material, conventionally a test anvil.

Concept of Rebound Values and Their Relevance to Material Strength Calculations

The concept of Rebound Hammer Test values is vital to the material strength calculation process utilizing the Rebound Hammer Test.

These values, frequently denoted as rebound numbers, represent the magnitude of the rebound velocity or distance, relative to a reference material, typically a test anvil.

Lower rebound values correspond to materials characterized by heightened hardness and compressive strength.

Conversely, higher rebound values are indicative of materials with diminished hardness and strength.

Engineers and quality control professionals employ established correlations and conversion tables to ascertain material strength by extrapolating from these rebound values.

This method affords an evaluative and speedy tool for material integrity.

The Rebound Hammer Test is predicated on the measurement of rebound after impact, serving as a reliable means for assessing material strength.

It excels in its speed, cost-effectiveness, non-destructive nature, and applicability in various construction and engineering domains.

Step 1: Preparation

  • Selecting the Test Location

Begin by carefully choosing the specific area on the material's surface that requires testing.

Ensure that it accurately represents the overall condition of the material.

To ensure accuracy, maintain a minimum distance of 20 mm from any edge or shape irregularity when selecting the point of impact. ( As per the Indian code IS: 13311(2)-1992)

  • Surface Preparation

Before testing, it is imperative to ensure that the material's surface is free of loose particles, dirt, or debris.

Light grinding or cleaning may be necessary to achieve a uniform and smooth surface.

Step 2: Calibration of the Rebound Hammer

Prior to any testing, it is of utmost importance to calibrate the rebound hammer.

Calibration involves striking a reference anvil (typically a steel test surface) multiple times and recording the resulting rebound values.

Step 3: Testing process

  • Holding the Rebound Hammer:

The device is versatile and suitable for application on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

It is imperative to emphasize the accurate interpretation of the rebound hammer graph.

In contemporary times, the hammer is furnished with a digital scale, simplifying the process significantly.

Firmly grasp the rebound hammer by its handle with one hand. When measuring, it's essential to hold the rebound hammer perpendicular to the concrete surface.

  • Positioning the Rebound Hammer

Place the plunger, which houses the steel mass, perpendicular to the material's surface that you intend to test.

Ensure that it maintains full contact with the material.

  • Release and Record

Release the plunger, allowing it to strike the material's surface.

Observe the rebound of the mass and promptly record the rebound value displayed on the scale or dial of the rebound hammer.

  • Repeat the Test

To enhance accuracy, perform multiple tests at the same location. Typically, three to five tests are conducted at each specific location.

  • Moving to Different Locations

If your assessment encompasses a larger area, repeat the testing process at various locations on the material's surface.

Ensure that these locations are representative of the overall condition.

Step 4: Data Collection and Calculation

  • Rebound Value Compilation

Collect and document all individual rebound values obtained from the tests conducted at each location.

  • Calculation of Average Rebound Value

Compute the average rebound value for each test location by summing the individual values and dividing by the number of tests performed at that specific location. This step minimizes variations in the results.

Step 5: Compressive Strength Calculation

  • Utilize Conversion Charts or Equations

To determine the material's compressive strength, you must employ the rebound hammer test conversion charts or equations provided by the rebound hammer's manufacturer.

These resources establish correlations between rebound values and estimated compressive strength.

  • Application of the Conversion

Match the average rebound value obtained during testing with the corresponding compressive strength value on the conversion chart or equation.

This will yield an estimation of the material's compressive strength, typically expressed in units such as megapascals (MPa) or pounds per square inch (psi).

The concrete's compressive value is also determined through a cube test performed on a batch of concrete identical to that subjected to the rebound test.

A comparison is made between the rebound value and the concrete's compressive strength, allowing for an assessment of compression based on both test results.

For each observation point, six rebound index readings are taken, and the average of these readings is calculated after removing any outliers, following the IS 8900: 1978 standard (this procedure for identifying outliers is a calculation-based method and can be discussed further if desired).

Step 6: Interpretation and Reporting

  • Result Interpretation

Evaluate the calculated compressive strength values within the context of your project or quality control criteria.

Determine whether the material meets the specified standards and safety requirements.

The calculation of compressive strength from the rebound number involves three positions for taking readings:

  • Vertical Downward

In this position, the weight of the hammer increases the stress on the spring of the hammer.

  • Vertical Upward

Here, the weight of the hammer decreases the stress on the spring of the hammer.

  • Horizontally

In this orientation, the weight of the hammer does not affect the spring.

Consequently, there are three distinct graphs in the Rebound Number-Compressive Strength graph of the Rebound Hammer, each corresponding to one of these positions.

Report and Document the test results, including the locations of the tests, average rebound values, and calculated compressive strengths.

Note any variations and factors influencing the Rebound Hammer Test and flag any areas that fail to meet the required standards.

The accuracy of the Rebound Hammer Test hinges on meticulous calibration, consistent testing procedures, and reliance on precise conversion charts or equations provided by the manufacturer.

While it offers a swift and non-destructive means of estimating material strength, it is crucial to consider potential limitations in specific scenarios when interpreting results and making engineering decisions.


The Rebound Hammer Test stands as a valuable method for the estimation of compressive strength in concrete and other vital construction materials.

This article has illuminated the pivotal facets of the test, with a particular focus on its meticulous strength calculation procedure.

By leveraging the rebound values obtained through systematic testing and applying manufacturer-provided conversion charts or equations, engineers can efficiently and accurately gauge material strength.

Advancements in technology have played a transformative role in rendering the Rebound Hammer Test more accessible and enhancing its precision.

The incorporation of digital scales within rebound hammers has streamlined data collection, minimizing potential human errors.

Furthermore, the availability of user-friendly software applications has empowered engineers to seamlessly manage and analyze test data.

As we look to the future, the ongoing progression of technology holds the promise of further refining the Rebound Hammer Test.

Anticipated innovations encompass the development of more sophisticated instruments featuring real-time data recording and wireless connectivity capabilities.

These advancements will empower engineers to swiftly acquire and analyze test results on-site, facilitating expeditious and informed decision-making within the realms of construction and quality control.

In essence, the Rebound Hammer Test, with its rigorous strength calculation protocol, remains a foundational tool for assessing material integrity.

With imminent technological advancements, it is poised to emerge as an even more potent instrument, ensuring the structural integrity and safety of construction endeavors on a global scale.

Tree PNG back


Tree PNG back




Tree PNG back


Application Notes