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Materials and Structures/Matriaux et Constructions, Vol.

30, April 1997, pp 131-138

F. Indelicato
Department of Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129, Turin, Italy

A B S T R A C T
This paper describes a method for the interpretation of test results which makes it possible to estimate concrete cube strength from cores of various diameters with suitable confidence levels. To this end, 1,270 results of compression tests carried out on cubes with 150 mm sides, on typical small and micro-cores (70, 45 and 28 mm in diameter, respectively), have been elaborated with the aid of statistical methods, which can also be used for different types of test. The laws of correlation between cube strength and the strength values obtained from the different diameter cores are determined and discussed. The relationships expressing the lower confidence limits for future individual observations are developed, compared with one another in relation to the influence of core diameters, and proposed for the in situ estimate of cube strength.

R S U M
Cet article prsente une mthode dinterprtation des rsultats dessais permettant destimer, avec des niveaux de confiance suffisants, la rsistance sur cube du bton partir de carottes de diamtre divers. cet effet, 1 270 rsultats dessais de compression sur des cubes de 150 mm de ct et sur des carottes types de 70 mm de diamtre, de petites carottes de 45 mm de diamtre et des microcarottes de 28 mm de diamtre sont dvelopps au moyen de mthodes statistiques pouvant galement tre appliques linterprtation dautres types dessais. Les lois de corrlation entre les rsistances des cubes et des carottes de diffrents diamtres sont dtermins et discutes. Les relations qui expriment les limites infrieures de confiance pour les observations individuelles futures sont labores, compares entre elles par rapport linfluence des diffrents diamtres des carottes, et proposes pour lestimation in situ de la rsistance sur cube.

1. INTRODUCTION
Among the various methods employed for the assessment of concrete strength in situ, the classical method, involving compression tests on cylindrical specimens produced from cores drilled out of the structure, should surely be recognised as having primary importance on account of the reliability and accuracy of the results. However, although these tests are quite simple to conduct, the results obtained may sometimes contain considerable errors because of the great variety of parameters involved (core diameter, specimen length/diameter ratio, specimen moisture at the time of testing, aggregate size, type of diamond wheel employed, damage caused by drilling and specimen preparation, size effects). Another cause of uncertainty lies in the methods adopted to interpret the test results, since the measuring process must necessarily begin with a more or less accurate estimate of strength from tests performed on cores, and then, for the sake of comparison, the values obtained must be expressed in terms of the strength of standard specimens (generally cubes) as required by the applicable standards. A simultaneous analysis of the way the tests are affected by the various parameters involved would be extremely complex. On the other hand, in the interpretation of test results and in the estimate of strength as cube strength, provided that the testing process has been carried out in a reasonably satisfactory manner and with suitable tools, it is possible to resort to statistical methods which may prove quite valuable. As a matter of fact, resorting to statistical concepts is virtually indispensable when analysing any test data that concern the mechanical strength of concrete, as obtained in the laboratory on a specimen tested in compression, even in the form of standard cubes. Under these conditions, from the results obtained for a sample of size n, it is possible to work out various parameters such as mean strength, standard deviation, characteristic strength and these may then be

Editorial note F. Indelicato works at the Politecnico di Torino, Department of Structural Engineering, Italy, which is a RILEM Titular Member. 0025-5432/97 RILEM

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SCIENTIFIC REPORTS

Estimate of concrete cube strength by means of different diameter cores: A statistical approach

Materials and Structures/Matriaux et Constructions, Vol. 30, April 1997

used as estimators to assess the corresponding parameters for the entire population being considered. In this investigation, which relies on a test base of 1,270 test results from compressive tests performed on 240 cubes with 150-mm sides, 480 microcores with 28mm diameter, 390 small cores with 45-mm diameter and 160 cores with 70-mm diameter, the use of statistical methods was indispensable. As far as the tests on cubes and those on 28-mm microcores are concerned, part of the test data and some considerations on the relationships between cube strength and microcore strength have already been published in earlier papers [1, 2]. In this paper, the range of test results studied has been widened and the comparison extended to include 70-mm diameter cores and small 45-mm diameter cores, with all of them being obtained from the same concretes. As is known, most international standards recommend minimum core diameters of 100 mm [3-5] or 4 in. [6], which are virtually equivalent, whilst smaller diameter cores, down to 50 mm [3, 5] or 2 in. [7], are accepted only in some particular cases. In any event, an increase in specimen size entails the use of heavier, less practical tools, resulting in higher costs and, above all, greater damage to the structure being evaluated. This should be viewed as a severe drawback, especially if we consider that in many cases the samples are taken precisely out of concern that the concrete does not possess sufficient strength. The choice of large diameters is justified by the need to obtain specimens with an internal structure as homogeneous as possible, to be fully representative of the concrete being tested and to approximate the size of standard specimens [8, 9]; the choice of smaller diameters is motivated by the need to reduce costs and minimise damage to the structure, and by the possibility of drilling out the samples more easily by means of smaller tools [10-12]. Whatever the chosen diameter, reliable procedures must be available in order to compare the actual results with those that would have hypothetically been obtained on cubes. The aim of this investigation has been to develop and compare methods for the in situ estimation of cube strength by testing and comparing specimens of different diameters. The range of tests selected includes microcore testing, a method which uses 28-mm diameter cores and may therefore be deemed as virtually non-destructive [13-16], tests on small (45-mm) cores and, f inally, destructive core tests on 70-mm diameter specimens. Obviously, the volume of concrete to be drilled differs greatly from one type of test to another, and the severity of the damage to the structure also varies considerably. The strength values measured on cubes and cores produced from the same concrete mixes were then used to work out the correlation curves and the relative confidence intervals. The results and the relationships obtained were compared and analysed to assess their validity for the estimate of the cube strength of existing structures. Before we proceed with a description of the testing procedures and the suggested method for the interpretation of the results, it would seem advisable to explain

what is meant by compressive strength of concrete. This characteristic, in fact, is not an absolute value since it may vary greatly, even for concrete specimens originating from the same mix. It is known, for instance, that the results may be greatly affected by numerous factors, such as specimen shape and size, compacting method employed, height/base ratio, age of the casting, curing conditions, type of testing machine, planarity of the surfaces in contact with the plates, rate of loading, etc. Hence the need to refer to a conventional definition of strength, one which can be obtained by imposing suitable conditions in relation to a greater or lesser number of parameters. In this manner, it is possible to define, with sufficient accuracy, several types of conventional compressive strengths, such as cylinder and cube strength. As for the latter, it is obvious that, even when determined on specimens made from the same concrete as that used to build a structure, this strength will be quite different from the strength that can be determined in situ. This would be true even if we assumed that it were possible to obtain perfectly-undamaged specimens, geometrically identical to those produced ad hoc; even in these circumstances, however, specimen compacting and curing would still be different. Thus, the cube strength obtained on specimens produced and tested according to the usual methodology will never be the same as the in situ cube strength. This explains why the strength determined on cylindrical specimens obtained from cores and microcores drilled in situ will be different from the cube strength of specimens made at the time of casting; yet in some cases, due to the interaction of parameters of opposite signs, the values may turn out to be very close. This consideration applies to any type of in situ estimate of strength. In this investigation, since the cores are taken directly from cubes, the latter represent the structure and hence, in this particular case, cube strength coincides with in situ strength. In actual practice, however, in situ cube strength, which is the quantity being assessed, will necessarily be an estimated cube strength.

2. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
The tests covered sixteen different types of concrete, all of them manufactured at industrial plants and intended for a great variety of building applications. Mix compositions, as listed in Table 1, were selected so as to obtain concretes of nominal classes ranging from fck = 20 Nmm2 to fck = 50 Nmm2. All concrete mixes were produced with siliceous river aggregate, originating from different quarries, characterised by continuous grain size curves, with a maximum aggregate diameter of 30 mm in twelve cases and 25 mm in the four remaining cases. Plasticizers were added to concrete types 2, 3, 11 and 13. Concrete was cured for the first 28 days in a controlled environment at a temperature of 20 1C and a relative humidity of 90%; from the 29th to the 90th day, the temperature remained the same, but the relative humidity was reduced to 65%.

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Table 1 Concrete mix characteristics


Concrete No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Type of Portland cement 325 425 425 325 325 425 325 325 325 325 425 325 525 425 325 425 Max diam. of aggregate (mm) 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 25 25 25 25 Cement content (kg m-3) 300 320 380 340 250 280 290 320 360 300 300 250 350 350 300 330 W/C 0.75 0.55 0.50 0.61 0.60 0.59 0.61 0.62 0.58 0.59 0.50 0.65 0.50 0.56 0.58 0.55

Fig. 1 The specimens obtained from one of the eight concretes for which the program was extended to all four specimen types.

Initially, the investigation had been conceived with the aim of studying solely the relationships between cube and microcore strength. To this end, the plan was to produce 30 cubes with 150-mm sides from each concrete mix, half of which would be used for direct compression tests and the other half to produce, from each cube, a specimen 150 mm in length and 28 mm in diameter. After that, two microcores with length equal to diameter would be produced from each specimen and subjected to compression tests. Following the tests on the first three concrete types, however, it was decided to extend the investigation and increase the number of cubes produced so as to be able to work on bigger diameter cores. From each of the newly-manufactured concretes, we were able to obtain 30 additional small cores, with diameter = 45 mm, and from 8 of the concretes, 20 additional 70-mm cores. For these last two types of specimen, we again opted for an /d ratio of 1 with the intention of minimising the influence of specimen shape, and especially that of slenderness, in the comparison of cube and core strengths. Fig. 1 shows a photograph taken before the tests of all the specimens obtained from one of the 8 concretes, for which the testing program was extended to all 4 types of specimen (cubes, microcores, small cores and 70 mm cores). The drilling equipment, for the 28-mm diameter specimens, includes a microcore drilling unit fitted with a suction anchorage device, a vacuum pump and a portable reservoir (for use when water is not readily available on site). The small dimensions and weight of the equipment (15 daN for the micro-drill, 11 daN for the pump and about as much for the reservoir) make it especially suitable for in situ use; 45 and 70-mm specimens were obtained with another drilling unit, of similar design, but considerably bigger and heavier. Cores and microcores were produced by moist cutting and were not capped before testing; compression

tests were performed on cubes and cores 90 days after the date of casting. A relatively long curing period was selected in order to minimise the local differences associated with young concrete [13], to make sure that the specimens would be cut when concrete strength had consolidated sufficiently, and finally because it was felt that a 90-day period would be more representative than the classical 28-day period, since the testing program has been devised for applications on existing structures.

3. TEST RESULTS
The main results of the compression tests are illustrated in Table 2, where the mean - deter- strength values mined on cubes, f , small cores, f , microcores, f 28 45, and - c full sized cores, f 70, are presented together with the standard deviation values relating to the four different types of specimen, sc, s28, s45 and s70. In this respect, it should be noted first of all that sample size increases with decreasing geometric dimensions of the specimens, from n = 15 for cubes to n = 20 for 70mm cores, n = 30 for small 45-mm cores and for the 28mm microcores. This choice was primarily inspired by operational considerations, but it also made it possible to take into account, in qualitative terms, the likelihood of a greater scatter in the results relating to geometrically smaller specimens. In the analysis of the experimental data, the first step was to evaluate the type of distribution in the results. A series of Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests, encompassing all the individual concretes and all types of specimen, showed quite effectively that within each single concrete, the populations being examined were all of the normal type, which represents an important simplification for further studies.

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Materials and Structures/Matriaux et Constructions, Vol. 30, April 1997

In particular, the maximum absolute difference between the value measured and the theoretical value in the case of normal distribution Concrete No. applies to cube group No. 10, for which the 1 least favourable situation occurs: 0.22435, well 2 below the value of 0.30 corresponding to a risk 3 = 0.1, for 15 specimens [17]. For microcores, 4 the absolute difference applies to concrete type 5 11 (the least favourable case: 0.19838) and for 6 small cores to concrete type 8 (0.16289), with 7 both of these values being lower than 0.22, the 8 value corresponding to = 0.1, for 30 speci9 mens. Finally, for 70-mm cores, the least 10 favourable case is observed for group No. 15, 11 with a difference of 0.23222, lower than the 12 limit of 0.26 corresponding to = 0.1, and a 13 sample size of 20. Thus, the results were quite 14 satisfactory for tests of this type. 15 As for the main problem at hand, i.e. to 16 estimate cube strength on the basis of measurements obtained on other types of specimen, the first step consisted of evaluating the analytical relationships between mean cube strength, fc, and the strength - - values- determined on different types of specimens, f 28, f 45 and f 70. A qualitative examination of the results listed in Table 2 shows that, by taking mean cube strength as the reference value, the other values lie around the reference value with relatively small differences, thereby suggesting the existence of linear correlations. The theoretical parameter employed to measure the linear relationship between two variables, X and Y, is the linear correlation coefficient, ; in order to determine the value of this coefficient, we must first of all determine the density-functions of X and Y. In our case, Y - is represented by the fc values, whilst X is represented by f 28, f 45 and f 70, respectively. Consequently, to estimate we must use an ^, on the basis of n pairs of available observations estimator (xi, yi), where i = 1 .....n. At this point, the correlation coefficient can be estimated by means of: = X, Y cov

Table 2 Experimental results


fc f 28 f 45 f 70 sc s28 s45 s70 -2 -2 -2 (Nmm ) (Nmm ) (Nmm ) (Nmm-2) (Nmm-2) (Nmm-2) (Nmm-2) (Nmm-2) 23.5 39.4 47.2 33.9 30.0 34.4 24.1 27.4 28.0 27.8 49.1 24.7 52.1 42.6 30.9 41.8 18.8 33.8 43.6 34.4 31.1 27.7 29.5 28.6 28.0 28.1 40.8 22.4 41.2 34.1 27.3 30.9 31.2 33.1 29.3 21.8 24.2 22.6 24.0 47.3 24.9 44.1 37.2 32.5 36.7 35.1 24.0 48.6 23.8 47.9 40.2 30.0 39.4 0.59 1.66 2.44 1.11 1.65 3.66 1.96 1.57 1.22 2.59 2.01 1.71 2.12 1.67 1.09 2.60 2.84 5.89 7.47 5.75 6.08 5.53 6.34 3.60 6.15 4.49 8.12 4.81 4.41 5.67 5.31 5.27 5.06 4.93 4.12 2.65 2.84 2.36 2.61 5.68 3.43 6.99 4.80 4.57 3.98 5.44 5.22 8.35 1.86 5.43 2.93 4.79 5.08

risk of error much lower than 0.1% and no substantial difference between the three cases [18]. This finding is borne out by a comparison which the estimates of the correlation coefficients determined for the eight concrete types common to all four kinds of specimens, ^ = 0.935; which turned out to be basically equivalent: 28 ^ ^ ^ 45 = 0.929; 70 = 70 = 0.959.

4. CORRELATION LAWS
Having ascertained that the linear regression model is suitable for the representation of the relationships between mean cube strength and mean core strength for the three different diameters, let us now turn to the estimate of the parameters of the straight lines. In general, the regression model is given by: Y = a + bX (2) In our case, - for the three regressions, Y is always represented by f the variables corresponding to X - - c, whilst are: f 70, f 45 and f 28; a and b parameters can be estimated by means of A and B estimators starting from the pair of values xi, yi determined from the tests through the least squares method. With the data available, we obtain the following straight lines: (3) fc = 0.647 + 1.017 f 70 (4) fc = 1.048 + 1.059 f 45 (5) fc = - 4.617 + 1.255 f 28 Equations (3), (4) and (5) are represented in graphic form in Fig. 2. In this respect, it should be noted that equation (5) had already been presented in an earlier paper [1]. From an examination of equations (3), (4) and (5), it can be seen that all of these straight lines are very close to one another, especially the ones relating to the

varY varX

(1)

With our data, the values of the correlation coeffi^ ^ cients obtained are, respectively: 28 = 0.882; 45 = 0.942; ^ 70 = 0.959. All these values are close to one, and hence quite satisfactory in relation to the number of pairs of observations taken into consideration; at first glance they suggest that the hypothesis of a linear correlation between mean cube strength and core strength is highly probable. However, since we are dealing with estimates, for a more rigorous comparison between the different correlation coefficients and to confirm the hypothesis of a linear correlation, three t tests were performed by taking into account the different sizes of the samples represented, respectively, by 16, 13 and 8 pairs of data. The tests confirmed the existence of the correlation, with a

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Fig. 2 Regression straight - - lines - of mean cube strength, f c, vs. mean core strength: f 70, f 45, f 28, and the straight line which would represent the identity of cube and core tests.

Fig. 3 Regression straight lines of mean cube strength, f c, vs mean core strength values as determined by processing the data related to the eight concrete mixes used to produce all four types of specimen.

specimens with 70 and 45-mm diameters, which have virtually identical angular coefficients very close to 1. For our purposes, the ideal situation would occur if it were possible to work on specimens whose results would lead to a relationship of the type: - fc = f cores (6) which would imply the identity of cube and core tests, at least as far as the mean strength is concerned. In light of the foregoing, on the basis of equations (3), (4), (5) and Fig. 2, it can be stated that with increasing specimen diameter we approach the optimal condition expressed in equation (6). The known term, in fact, is seen to decrease in absolute value approaching zero, while the angular coefficient decreases approaching 1. It can also be noted that the integral of the function of the square difference between straight lines (3), (4), (5) and (6) decreases with increasing diameter. In this sense, the results were predictable on the basis of common experience; however, the interesting fact herein is that the differences observed are always minimal, despite the considerable differences in specimen diameter and, above all, in specimen volume. A confirmation of the results described above has been obtained by comparing the regression straight lines determined by processing the data relating to the eight concrete mixes used to produce all four types of specimen. For these mixes, it is possible to plot the three lines shown in Fig. 3, one of which coincides with straight line (3), while the others are rather close to lines (4) and (5), albeit farther from the ideal straight line, i.e. (6). Consequently, it can be inferred that if it were possible to increase the number of concrete types being tested, the regression lines would come close to line (6).

From an initial examination, it might therefore seem logical to conclude that the estimate of mean cube strength can be determined on the basis of tests performed on any of the three types of specimen considered, with a progressive, but not substantial, improvement with increasing specimen diameter. However, it is obvious that when working on a construction site, the choice may be heavily affected by considerations as to the opportunity of making greater or smaller diameter holes, or concerning the number of holes to be drilled and the costs involved. Since the straight lines represented by equations (3), (4) and (5) are estimates, we should take into account the different scatter in the data around them and assess the confidence intervals of the straight lines as well as the confidence intervals of individual observations. The first interval is expressed by the well-known relationship: A + Bx t s y x
2

1 + n

( x x) ( x x)
2 i

(7)

and the second interval by: A + Bx t s y x


2

1 1+ + n

( x x) ( x x)
2 i

(8)

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Materials and Structures/Matriaux et Constructions, Vol. 30, April 1997

Fig. 4 Two-sided 80% confidence intervals for mean cube strength, f c (___), and for the regression straight line (- - -) as a function of mean core strength: f 70.

Fig. 6 Two-sided 80% confidence intervals for mean cube strength, f c (___), and for the regression - straight line (- - -) as a function of mean microcore strength: f 28.

point of the confidence intervals, we can identify the limits within - (2) and - the individual - which straight - line values of fc as a function of f 28, f 45 and f 70 will lie with a certain probability. This type- of procedure may prove useful when the evaluation of fc though a simple correlation law, even through it yields the most probable value, implies the possibility that 50% of the cases might fall above or below this value. The confidence intervals involved for = 0.20 are illustrated in Figs. 4, 5 and 6. A visual examination of these figures, verified by a numerical check, reveals that the width of the intervals is essentially the same for the different specimen diameters. However, if we consider the values of sy|x as a summary estimate of variability around the straight lines, we find that the three values: sc|28 = 4.357; sc|45 = 3.219; and sc|70 = 3.167 decrease with increasing specimen diameter, as could be expected on the basis of physical considerations. In any event, it is not possible to identify - in - a substantial-difference the validity of the estimates of fc obtained from f28, f45 or f70. In this connection, it should be pointed out that while from the statistical standpoint it might be of greater interest to refer to bilateral confidence intervals, from the standpoint of design, it might be advisable to concentrate only on the lower limits of these intervals so as to identify the region above which not (1 - )% but rather (1 - /2)% of the mean strength values lie. Such limits are expressed by the relationships: fce = 0.647 + 1.017f70 3.167t
2

Fig. 5 Two-sided 80% confidence intervals for mean cube strength, f c (___), and for the regression - straight line (- - -) as a function of mean small core strength: f 45.

where: (9) n2 and t is such that, for the t-distribution with n-2 d.f., there is an /2% chance that t > t/2. By observing strength relationships from the standsy x =
i=1

(y A Bx )
i i

(f 1.125 +

70

36.131 662.029

(10)

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fce = 1.048 + 1.059f45 3.219t 1.077 +


2

f45 31.470 803.931

(11)

fce = 4.617 + 1.255f28 4.357t ) 2

(f 1.062 +

28

31.390 661.76

(12)

originating from equation (8), in which the term x, representing the mean of the mean values of core strength, is in the three cases being considered:

f
n

70

= 36.131 ;

f
n

45

= 31.470 ;

f
n

28

= 31.390

In Fig. 7, equations (10), (11) and (12) are plotted for = 0.20, corresponding to: t/2 = 1.44 for relationship (10) relating to 70-mm diameter cores, t/2 = 1.36 for relationship (11) relating to small 45-mm diameter cores, and t/2 = 1.34 for microcores; about 90% of the mean strength values will then fall in the region above them. Obviously, whether we wish to improve the confidence level or accept a lower level, it is possible, by selecting suitable values of , to introduce into equations (10), (11) and (12) the corresponding values of t/2 to obtain similar relationships. In any event, these relationships can be used with an adequate margin of confidence as empirical laws for - a rather conservative estimate of mean cube strength, fc, starting from- a mean strength value - as determined- on microcores, f 28, on small cores, f 45, or on cores, f 70. In this context, it should be noted that an analysis of equations (10), (11) and (12) and Fig. 7 clearly shows that

Fig. 7 Lower limits of the - one-sided 90% confidence intervals for cube - mean - strength, f c, as a function of mean core strength: f 70, f 45 and f 28.

the three curves are rather close. On the other hand, since the straight lines (3), (4) and (5) nearly coincide, the evolution of the - limit - curves - shows that the scatter of the mean values f 70, f 45 and f 28 around the regression straight lines remains virtually constant for varying specimen diameters. Consequently, mean cube strength can be estimated almost regardless of the test data relating to the different types of core. It should be borne in mind, however, that from an examination of the test results listed in Table 2, we find that with decreasing specimen diameter, the variances relating to individual concrete mixes deviate to an ever greater extent from the reference variances of the cubes. This feature has major implications when core testing is used to estimate characteristic cube strength, fck, and it also has considerable implications when this testing method is applied to the estimate of mean strength, fc, as discussed in this paper, since it means that when tests are conducted for practical application purposes on small diameter specimens, we should resort to bigger samples if the results are to be sufficiently reliable. Disregarding the problems pertaining to characteristic strength, for which a partial solution has already been proposed [16] and which are currently being investigated further, it should be noted that the problem of sample size in this type of test is not to be neglected, as is the case in all tests aimed at estimating strength on standard samples on the basis of results obtained from tests of a different nature. As documented in the literature, the solution can be empirical [9, 19] or, preferably, based on statistical considerations [20]. In particular, where microcore testing is concerned, a solution based on the test data described in this article was worked out through a procedure involving a comparison of the confidence intervals for microcore and cube mean strength values [16]. For application purposes, it should be kept in mind, however, that equations (10), (11) and (12) represent relationships obtained from a testing campaign conducted on cubes and cores taken from cubes produced from the same concrete mixes, and therefore express a direct link between the strength values of the two different specimen types. However, when the tests are conducted on a real structure, the situation is conceptually different. In such circumstances, the cores are in fact taken from concrete whose characteristics are different from those of the cubes in several respects, e.g., compacting and curing conditions. The values obtained from such cores will therefore represent an estimated in situ cube strength wherein the term estimated should be construed as having a wider meaning than its purely statistical connotation. Incidentally, it should be noted that the methods for interpreting test results proposed in this paper may also be used for tests of different kinds, such as the estimate of cube strength from the results of other types of tests, provided that the tests are linearly correlated with cube strength.

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5. CONCLUSIONS
The results of 1,270 compressive tests performed on 240 cubes with 150-mm sides, 480 28-mm diameter microcores, 390 45-mm diameter cores and 160 70-mm diameter cores, all of them produced from 16 concrete mixes of classes ranging from fck = 20 to fck = 50 Nmm-2 and with siliceous river aggregate of different origins and a maximum grain size of 30 mm, have shown that: There are very strong linear correlations between mean cube strength values and the mean strength values determined on cores of the three diameters studied (28, 45 and 70 mm), with all of them being characterised by basically equivalent correlation coefficients. The correlation laws are very close, with straight lines displaying angular coefficients very close to 1. It should be noted, however, that with increasing specimen diameter, the identity between cube and core mean strength improves, albeit slightly. The lower confidence intervals for mean cube-strength make it possible to estimate the cube strength, fc, to the desired confidence level, starting from a given -mean , on small cores, f 45, or strength determined on cores, f 70 on microcores, f 28. The confidence limits being considered are represented by curves which, for the same confidence level, turn out to be very close to one another. As a consequence, mean cube strength can be estimated, almost indifferently, on specimens with 70, 45 or 28-mm diameters, with account being taken of the need to increase sample size with decreasing specimen diameter. The proposed methods can be used for in situ tests in estimating cube strength on concrete types similar to those discussed above, with account being taken of the fact that the choice of core diameter has no significant repercussions on the accuracy of the results; it is therefore possible to proceed with tests which, depending on the chosen core diameter, will range from destructive to virtually non-destructive.

REFERENCES
[1] Indelicato, F., A statistical method for the assessment of concrete strength through microcores, Mater. Struct. 26 (159) (1993) 261267. [2] Indelicato, F., Microcore testing as a method for the determina-

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