Compressive Strength of Concrete Cubes – Lab Test & Procedure

Overall Strength of a structure such as flexural resistance and abrasion directly depends upon the compressive strength of concrete.

According to Wikipedia, Compressive Strength of concrete is defined as the Characteristic strength of 150mm size concrete cubes tested at 28 days.

Why do we test at 7, 14 & 28 days?

Concrete is a macro content with Sand, Cement, & Coarse aggregate as its micro-ingredient (Mix Ratio) and gains its 100% strength over time at the hardened state.

Take a look at the below table.

Concrete Strength Overtime

Days after Casting Strength Gain
Day 1 16%
Day 3 40%
Day 7 65%
Day 14 90%
Day 28 99%

As you can see the concrete gains its strength rapidly til 7th & 14th Days. Then gradually increases from there. So we can’t predict the strength until the concrete comes to that stable state.

Once it attains certain strength at 7 days, then we know (according to the table) only 9% of strength going to increase. So at sites, we do normally test concrete at this interval. If the concrete fails at 14 days, then we will reject that batching.


Compressive Strength Table of Concrete at 7 & 28 Days

Grade of Concrete Minimum compressive strength N/mm2 at 7 days Specified characteristic compressive strength (N/mm2) at 28 days
M15 10 15
M20 13.5 20
M25 17 25
M30 20 30
M35 23.5 35
M40 27 40
M45 30 45


Compressive Strength of Concrete Lab Test


To find compressive strength value of concrete cubes.

Required Equipment & Apparatus

  • 150 mm Cube Moulds (with IS Mark)
  • Electronic Weighing Balance
  • G.I Sheet (For Making Concrete)
  • Vibrating Needle & other tools
  • Compressions Testing Machine
Concrete Compression Testing Machine
concrete-mould 150-X-150 mm Electronic Weighing Balance


Cube Casting

  • Measure the dry proportion of ingredients (Cement, Sand & Coarse Aggregate) as per the design requirements. The Ingredients should be sufficient enough to cast test cubes
  • Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients to obtain the uniform mixture
  • Add design quantity of water to the dry proportion (water-cement ratio) and mix well to obtain uniform texture
  • Fill the concrete to the mould with the help of vibrator for thorough compaction
  • Finish the top of the concrete by trowel & tapped well till the cement slurry comes to the top of the cubes.



  • After some time the mould should be covered with red gunny bag and put undisturbed for 24 hours at a temperature of 27 ° Celsius ± 2
  • After 24 hours remove the specimen from the mould.
  • Keep the specimen submerged under fresh water at 27 ° Celsius. The specimen should be kept for 7 or 28 days. Every 7 days the water should be renewed.
  • The specimen should be removed from the water 30 minutes prior to the testing.
  • The specimen should be in dry condition before conducting the testing.
  • The Cube weight should not be less than 8.1 Kgs



  • Now place the concrete cubes into the testing machine. (centrally)
  • The cubes should be placed correctly on the machine plate (check the circle marks on the machine). Carefully align the specimen with the spherically seated plate.
  • The load will be applied to the specimen axially.
  • Now slowly apply the load at the rate of 140kg/cm2 per minute till the cube collapse.
  • The maximum load at which the specimen breaks is taken as a compressive load.



Compressive Strength of concrete = Maximum compressive load / Cross Sectional Area

Cross sectional Area = 150mm X 150mm = 22500 mm2 or 225 cm2

Assume the compression load is 450 KN,

Compressive Strength = (450000 N / 225)/9.81 = 204 kg/cm2

Note – 1 kg is equal to 9.81 N


Observation Result (Lab Report)

Details Samples
Specimen 1 Specimen 2 Specimen 3

Compressive Load


375 KN 425 KN 435 KN

Compressive Strength


(375000/225) / 9.81

= 170 kg/cm2

(425000/225) / 9.81

= 192.5 kg/cm2

(435000/225) / 9.81

= 197.0 kg/cm2

Average Compressive Strength = (170+192.5+197)/3 

= 186.5 Kg/cm2


  • The above experiment should be conducted at the temperature of 27° Celsius ± 2°.
  • As per IS 516, the individual variation in compressive load should not be more than plus minus 15% of the average value.


Frequency of Sampling

According to IS 456:2000, the Minimum frequency of Concrete Sampling

Quantity of Concrete in Work (M3) Number of Samples
1-5 1
6-15 2
16-30 3
31-50 4
51 and above 4 plus one additional sample for each additional 50 m3


Experiment Video

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