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Research in Nondestructive Evaluation, 24: 117, 2013

Copyright # American Society for Nondestructive Testing


ISSN: 0934-9847 print=1432-2110 online
DOI: 10.1080/09349847.2012.675117

EFFECTIVENESS OF A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING


A POST-INSTALLABLE BREAK-OFF BOLT
Ghang Lee,1 Hunebum Ko,2 and Jongsung Won1
1

Department of Architectural Engineering, Yonsei University, Seodaemun-Gu,


Seoul, South Korea
2
Department of Architecture, Inha Technical College, Nam-Gu, Incheon,
South Korea

The pullout test is known to be more reliable for estimating the strength of concrete
structures under construction than other nondestructive testing methods such as the Schmidt
rebound hammer test, penetration resistance test, and ultrasonic pulse velocity method.
However, existing pullout tests require several complex installation steps. Loading equipment that contains load cells is expensive. We propose a simplified pullout test using a
post-installable break-off bolt, a standard bolt with a groove on the shaft, as an insert.
The specific groove diameters of break-off bolts are designed to indicate concrete strength.
However, the appropriate groove diameters for certain concrete strengths are not necessarily known. Regression models of groove diameter and the concrete strength were derived
through a series of 188 experiments. The resulting equation showed 70.2% prediction accuracy for predicting concrete strength. The average difference between incorrect estimates
and actual strengths was 0.13 mm, a magnitude that can easily be overcome if appropriate
safety factors are studied and added to the prediction equations.
Keywords: nondestructive test, post-installable break-off bolt, pullout test

1. INTRODUCTION
The pullout test is a nondestructive testing method certified by the
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) [1] that determines the
strength of concrete by measuring the force required to pull an insert from
a concrete surface or by loading the insert to a specified load to assess
whether a minimum level of concrete strength has been achieved. The pullout test is also called the Lok Test [2] or the Capo Test [3]. Details of standard
pullout test methods are provided in the section titled Overview of the
Traditional Pullout Test.
Previous studies [46] have shown that the pullout test is more economical, accurate, and reliable than other nondestructive testing methods such as
the Schmidt rebound hammer test, penetration resistance test, and ultrasonic
pulse velocity method, especially for measuring the strength of high-strength
concrete. However, the traditional pullout test method remains expensive
Address correspondence to Hunebum Ko, Department of Architecture, Inha Technical College,
Nam-Gu, Incheon, 402-752, South Korea. E-mail: hbko@inhatc.ac.kr
1

G. LEE ET AL.

and complex. A simplified pullout method using a grooved insert has been
patented [7]. Concrete strength is indicated by the groove diameter at which
the grooved insert breaks. Concrete fractures indicate that the concrete has
not reached the desired strength. However, the field applicability of the test
has not been verified. Moreover, to make the use of grooved inserts feasible,
it is essential to identify the relationship between groove size and expected
concrete strength.
We propose the use of a post-installable grooved insert, a post-installable
break-off bolt, and a modified pullout testing method using a regression
model for determining the relationship between groove diameter and
concrete strength. The regression model was derived from experiments
using 188 test cases. We also test the field applicability of the proposed
method.
We first briefly review the traditional pullout test. Then, we introduce
the proposed pullout method using the post-installable break-off bolt. The
following sections describe the assessment of the validity of the
post-installable break-off bolt method. Regression models between groove
diameter and concrete strength derived from the test data are also introduced. We report the prediction accuracy rate of the derived equations.
The final section demonstrates how the proposed method and equations
can be used for verifying that a given concrete mass has attained the
desired strength.
2. OVERVIEW OF THE TRADITIONAL PULLOUT TEST
Figure 1 illustrates the traditional pullout test standardized by the
ASTM [1]. This test requires three components: an insert, a loading system,
and a load-measuring system. The traditional pullout test measures the
strength of concrete by using the load-measuring system to measure the pullout force of an insert. The load measuring system is composed of a load cell
and a data logger. The insert is composed of the shaft and the head. The standard specifies the embedded depth of an insert, the diameter of the head, and
the diameter and the thickness of a bearing ring.
The insert shaft can be separated from the insert head. A head is installed
before the concrete is poured. A shaft can be screwed into the embedded
head to conduct the pullout test after formwork is removed if necessary.
However, an expensive load-measure system is required, and the pullout
force must be measured to determine the concrete strength. Kajima Corporation proposed a break-off insert that was designed to be broken at the
groove on an insert if the concrete reached the desired strength (Fig. 2)
[7]. By adopting the use of grooved insert, the load-measuring system, which
was expensive as it was composed of a load cell and sometimes a data logger, could be eliminated in the pullout process. However, the field applicability and reliability of the use of grooved inserts for verifying concrete

A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING A BREAK-OFF BOLT

FIGURE 1. Reproduction of a schematic cross-section of the pullout test [1]. (Figure appears in color
online.)

strength have not been tested. In addition, the appropriate groove diameters
for testing concrete strength have not been determined.
We develop these ideas further by replacing the grooved inserts in the
model with grooved post-installable break-off bolts that are manufactured
in standard sizes and testing their field applicability.

FIGURE 2. Reproduction of grooved inserts proposed by Kajima Corporation [7].

G. LEE ET AL.

3. DEVELOPMENT OF THE POST-INSTALLABLE BREAK-OFF BOLT


We developed the post-installable break-off bolt to improve upon several
drawbacks of the grooved insert concept proposed by Kajima Corporation.
As shown in Fig. 2, the grooved insert proposed by Kajima Corporation is
a custom-made insert that requires several pieces of connecting hardware.
To simplify the structure of the grooved insert and the installation and test
process, the post-installable break-off bolt system uses standard 8-mm
grooved bolts instead of the custom-made grooved inserts and eliminates
the other connecting hardware (Fig. 4).
Several versions of break-off bolts have been developed. An early version
was a cast-in-place type shown in Fig. 3. Cast-in-place break-off bolts based
on standard-size bolts yielded reliable test results [8]. However, this type of
bolt had drawbacks. Cast-in-place break-off bolts are often skewed during
removal due to the forces applied to separate a form from the concrete surface (Fig. 3). In addition, if break-off bolts are not used in pullout tests, the
unused bolts must be cut off. When break-off bolts are used and broken during testing, the small remaining extrusion of the break-off bolts still needs to
be ground off.
The insert shaft was separated from the insert head so that the shaft could
be installed only when necessary. For the insert head, a standard-size commercial nut that satisfied the ASTM pullout test specification shown in Fig. 1
was used instead of custom-made hardware. We refer to the insert head as an
embed nut. Packing was placed between the embed nut and the form
(Fig. 4a) so that the concrete surface could be easily finished without

FIGURE 3. Skewed cast-in-place break-off bolt. The bolt was skewed while being stripped off of a form.
(Figure appears in color online.)

A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING A BREAK-OFF BOLT

FIGURE 4. The installation process for a post-installable break-off bolt.

grinding off the portion of the embed nut that sometimes poked slightly out
above the concrete surface.
Figure 4 illustrates the installation process of the post-installable breakoff bolt. 1) The embed nut is fixed to a form using a temporary bolt. 2)
The temporary bolt and the packing are removed when the form is removed.
3) A post-installable break-off bolt can be screwed into the embed nut if a
pullout test is required. If not, the nut hole can be patched.
In addition to the simplification of the test process, a practical benefit
afforded by adopting the use of a post-installable break-off bolt in the pullout
test is cost savings. Existing loading and load-measuring systems range from
US$1,500 to US$10,000 in cost, whereas a simple loading system without a
load-measuring system costs less than US$500. To apply this method in the
field, an equation that may be used to determine the groove diameter
required for a specific concrete strength is required. The following sections
describe the methods used for deriving the equation and the results.
4. TEST METHOD
Post-installable break-off bolts were manufactured by making grooves
with various depths on commercial general 8-mm bolts and commercial
high-tension 8-mm bolts (Fig. 5). The grooves were cut in 0.5-mm intervals,
from 7.5 mm to 2.0 mm.
Concrete walls 1,200 mm by 600 mm by 150 mm were made with two
different strengths, 25 MPa and 45 MPa (Fig. 6) for testing. The strengths of
concrete typically used range from 18 MPa to 40 MPa. A total of 60 cylindrical
concrete specimens, 30 cylindrical concrete specimens for each test wall,
were made according to KS F 2403, the Korean standard for making and
curing cylindrical concrete specimens [9]. Each concrete cylinder was

G. LEE ET AL.

FIGURE 5. Grooved standard and high-tension 8-mm bolts with different groove depths. (Figure appears
in color online.)

100 mm by 200 mm. The maximum aggregate size was 19 mm. The strengths
of the test walls were measured by breaking the cylindrical concrete specimens every day until day 7 and day 14, day 21, and day 28 after the first week.
Embed nuts were placed at every 100 mm on both sides of the concrete
walls. The reliability of post-installable break-off bolts was tested, and an
equation for determining groove diameter according to concrete strength
was derived from experimental data acquired through the following steps:
1. Post-installable break-off bolts were tested using a universal testing
machine (UTM) to determine the preliminary order of the post-installable
break-off bolts according to the groove diameter and tensile load (kN).
2. The compressive strength (MPa) of the cylindrical concrete specimens
was measured every day from day 1 to day 7, and then every week until
day 28 after the first week (i.e., day 14, day 21, and day 28) using a UTM
to determine the compressive strength of the concrete of the day.

FIGURE 6. A test wall and cylindrical concrete specimens. (Figure appears in color online.)

A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING A BREAK-OFF BOLT

3. Pullout tests were conducted every day from day 1 to day 7, and day 14,
day 21, and day 28 to collect information regarding pullout loads (kN) at
the concrete fracture or at the bolt breakage. The Korean Standards [10]
mandate the use of three samples when testing the strength of concrete.
When the concrete surface was fractured at least three times using the
post-installable break-off bolts with the same groove diameter, the pullout
load was accepted as a valid value. A portable load cell was used to measure pullout load. Several types of data were collected through the pullout
tests:
i. If the concrete surface was fractured, the measured pullout load was
recorded as the pullout load required to fracture the concrete surface.
ii. If a post-installable break-off bolt broke, the measured pullout load was
recorded as the pullout load required to break the post-installable
break-off bolt.
iii. The groove diameters at the concrete fracture and at the bolt breakage
were also collected.
4. The relationships between the compressive strengths (MPa) of concrete
and the pullout loads (kN) of post-installable break-off bolts were analyzed using correlation analysis.
5. An equation was derived between the groove diameters of the
post-installable break-off bolts and concrete strengths (MPa) using linear
regression and the reliability of the post-installable break-off bolts was
validated.
5. TEST RESULTS
Following the test sequence described in the previous section, the average tensile loads of grooved bolts were first measured using a UTM to determine the preliminary order of the general bolts and high-tension bolts
according to their tensile load before the actual pullout tests. Table 1 shows
the test results. The average tensile load was measured by testing three bolts
of the same groove diameter. Tensile loads above or below 10% of the average load of the same bolt type were regarded as outliers due to the
non-standardized manufacturing process [11] and excluded from the data.
The manufacturing quality control problems associated with grooved bolts
could be resolved if bolts are commercialized and manufactured in a standardized mass-production environment in the future.
The test results showed that bolts with groove diameters of 3.0 mm,
3.5 mm, 4.0 mm, 5.0 mm, 5.5 mm, 6.0 mm, 7.0 mm, and 7.5 mm had similar
(within 10%) strengths to high-tension bolts with the groove diameters of
2.0 mm, 2.5 mm, 3.0 mm, 3.5 mm, 4.0 mm, 4.5 mm, 5.0 mm, and 5.5 mm,
respectively. Since our sample size was small, it was difficult to derive statistically meaningful results from this early data set. Instead, bolts with average tensile loads within 10% of each other were regarded as similar.

G. LEE ET AL.

TABLE 1 Preliminary Order of Bolts Based on the Average Tensile Load of Post-installable Break-off Bolts
Measured by a UTM
General bolt

High-tension bolt
Tensile load
(kN)

Groove diameter
(mm)
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
5.5
6
6.5
7
7.5

Tensile load
(kN)

Ave.

SD

2.2
3.3
4.8
6.2
8.7
9.9
13.3
17.1
20.4
24
27.1
30.9

0.2
0.4
0.1
0.3
0.1
0.6
0.1
0.1
0.4
0.3
1.4
0.4

Groove diameter
(mm)

Ave.

SD

2.0 h
2.5 h
3.0 h
3.5 h
4.0 h
4.5 h
5.0 h
5.5 h
6.0 h
6.5 h
7.0 h
7.5 h

4.1
6.1
9.2

13
16.7
20.1

26.3
32.8
39.1
47.5
55.9
63.9

0.1
0.1
0.3
0.1
0.1
1.8
0.3
0.7
0.7
0.6
1.3
0.2


h is added to the ends of the groove diameters of high-tension bolts to distinguish their groove diameters from those of general bolts.

FIGURE 7. Compressive strengths of cylindrical concrete specimens by age (day).

D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)

Run
3.5
Y
5.6
5.5
N
13.5
5.5
N
13.2
5.5
N
12.9
4.0 h
N
14.7
5.5
Y
15.6
5.5
Y
14.6
5.5
Y
16.0
4.5 h
N
19.4
4.0 h
Y
15.5

1
3.5
N
6.7
5.0
Y
13.3
5.5
Y
17.0
5.5
N
12.6
4.0 h
N
15.8
5.5
N
14.2
5.5
Y
15.8
5.5
Y
15.8
4.5 h
N
17.9
4.0 h
Y
15.4

2
3.5
N
6.3
5.0
Y
12.1
5.5
Y
14.4
5.5
Y
16.1
4.0 h
Y
16.4
5.5
N
14.1
5.5
N
14.9
5.5
Y
15.6
4.5 h
Y
19.9
4.0 h
Y
15.9

3
4.0
Y
7.5
5.0
Y
13.2
3.5 h
Y
12.5
6.0
N
18.6
5.5
Y
16.0
3.5 h
Y
12.8
4.0 h
Y
15.6
4.5 h
N
16.3
6.0
N
19.1
4.5 h
N
17.8

4
4.0
Y
8.5
5.5
N
11.1
3.5 h
Y
12.8
6.0
N
16.2
5.5
Y
15.1
3.5 h
Y
12.6
4.0 h
Y
15.5
4.5 h
N
17.9
6.0
N
19
4.5 h
N
15.9

5
4.0
Y
8.5
5.5
N
11.8
3.5 h
Y
12.8
6.0
N
14.3
5.5
N
14.7
3.5 h
Y
12.7
4.0 h
Y
15.8
4.5 h
Y
19.6
6.0
N
15.5
4.5 h
Y
19.9

6.0
N
14.5
5.0
Y
13.1
3.5 h
Y
12.8
6.0
N
12.1
4.5 h
N
17.5
6.0
Y
19
6.5
N
20
6.0
Y
19.7

4.5
Y
9.3

6.0
N
17.5
5.0
Y
12.9
3.5 h
Y
12.6
6.0
N
15.9
4.5 h
N
17.5
6.0
Y
19.4
6.5
N
18.8
6.0
N
17.8

4.5
Y
11.1

6.0
N
14.3
5.0
Y
12.9
3.5 h
Y
12.5
6.0
N
16.7
4.5 h
N
18.2
6.0
N
16.3
6.5
N
20.8
6.0
N
18.5

4.5
Y
9

5.5
Y
17.3

5.0
N
11.4

10

5.5
Y
16.9

5.0
N
12.8

11

5.5
Y
14.6

5.0
N
10.2

12

Note. D: groove diameter; Broken: Has the bolt broken?; Y: Yes, the bolt was broken, N (Case colored in grey): No, the bolt was not broken. (The concrete
was fractured.); Lp: pullout load (kN) at the bolt breakage or at the concrete fracture; Texts in bold: Bolt types appropriate for measuring the concrete strength
of the day.

Day 28 (25.9 MPa)

Day 21 (25.4 MPa)

Day 14 (21.1 MPa)

Day 7 (20.0 MPa)

Day 6 (17.4 MPa)

Day 5 (18.2 MPa)

Day 4 (15.4 MPa)

Day 3 (16.5 MPa)

Day 2 (15.5 MPa)

Day 1 (10.8 MPa)

Age (Concrete
strength, fc)

TABLE 2 Pullout Test Results for Wall Type 1 (25 MPa)

10

G. LEE ET AL.

Secondly, the compressive strengths of concrete cylinders were measured from days 1 to 7, and then days 14, 21, and 28. The test results were
obtained by breaking three 100 mm by 200 mm cylindrical specimens.
Figure 7 illustrates the compressive strengths of each specimen by age (day).
Third, a series of pullout tests were conducted from days 1 to 7 and on
days 14, 21, and 28. The purposes of the tests were to identify the pullout
loads at the bolt breakage and at the concrete fracture points and the groove
diameters at the concrete fracture, so that the relationships among the pullout load, the compressive strength of the concrete surface, and the groove
diameter could be analyzed. Tables 2 and 3 show the test results. In
Tables 2 and 3, Run indicates the number of pullout tests. D (mm) is
the diameter of the groove; h is added as a postfix to the groove diameter
to differentiate the groove diameters of high-tension bolts from those of general bolts. The Broken value was checked Y (yes) if a bolt was broken. If
the concrete was fractured, the cell was checked N (no). Lp (kN) is the
pullout load. If the concrete was fractured, the concrete strength was determined by the pullout load at the concrete fracture. If a bolt broke, the value
was equal to the pullout load at the time of bolt breakage. Pullout tests were
conducted until concrete was fractured three times using the bolts with the
same groove diameter following the general bolt test guidelines [12]. For
example, on day 21 in Table 2, concrete was fractured only twice when a
high-tension bolt with a 4.5 mm groove diameter were used. Thus, the test
was continued until the concrete was fractured three times. The concrete surface was also fractured three times when the bolts with a 6.0 mm groove
diameter and a 6.5 mm groove diameter were used. In such cases, the smallest groove diameter was used to indicate concrete strength. In Tables 2
and 3, the bolt types that were determined to be appropriate for measuring
the concrete strength of the day are marked in bold. In five cases, experiments had to be stopped before we found an appropriate groove diameter
because we unexpectedly ran out of bolts with specific groove diameters.
The problem occurred on days 5, 14, and 28 in Table 2 and days 5 and 7
(Table 3). The data collected on these days could not be used for analyzing
the relationships between concrete strength and groove diameter, but were
still useful for analyzing the relationships between concrete strength and
pullout force. In some cases, tests were continued even after the concrete
was fractured three times just to collect more data.
6. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GROOVE SIZE, PULLOUT LOAD, AND
CONCRETE STRENGTH
The total number of all cases in Table 2 and Table 3 was 188. Concrete
surfaces were fractured in 87 cases. Post-installable break-off bolts were broken in the other 101 cases. First, the correlations between the compressive
strengths of concrete and the pullout loads at concrete fractures were

11

D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)
D (mm)
Broken
Lp (kN)

Run
6.0
N
20.0
4.5 h
Y
21.2
7.0
Y
27.9
7.0
N
22.6
5.0 h
Y
26.5
7.0
Y
25.5
7.0
Y
25.9
7.5
Y
28.5
8.0
Y
30.5
8.0
Y
28.3

1
6.0
Y
17.0
4.5 h
Y
21.0
7.0
Y
27.8
7.0
Y
24.1
5.0 h
N
24.8
7.0
X
X
7.0
Y
26.2
7.5
Y
28.9
8.0
Y
31.4
8.0
Y
33.0

2
6.0
Y
16.5
4.5 h
Y
20.9
7.0
N
23.4
7.0
Y
26.7
5.0 h
N
21.3
7.0
N
22.7
7.0
Y
25.8
7.5
Y
29.5
8.0
Y
28.0
8.0
Y
29.8

3
5.5
Y
14.2
7.0
N
22.4
7.5
N
26.6
7.5
N
29.5
7.0
N
25.5
7.5
N
28.0
7.5
N
27.6
8.0
N
26.6
5.5 h
N
31.9
5.5 h
N
29.7

4
5.5
Y
17.1
7.0
N
24.5
7.5
N
22.8
7.5
N
26.8
7.0
Y
27.3
7.5
N
28.1
7.5
Y
29.2
8.0
Y
30.2
5.5 h
N
30.9
5.5 h
N
32.0

5
5.5
Y
16.9
7.0
N
24.3
7.5
N
27.3
7.5
N
23.0
7.0
Y
26.1
7.5
N
29.0
7.5
Y
28.7
8.0
Y
30.7
5.5 h
Y
32.8
5.5 h
N
32.0

6.5
Y
19.9
6.5
Y
22.5
6.5
Y
22.4
6.5
Y
23.3
8.0
Y
31.8
5.5 h
Y
31.6
6.0 h
N
36.1
6.0 h
N
36.6

6.5
N
22.6

6.5
N
22.3
6.5
Y
22.7
6.5
Y
22.1
6.5
Y
23.8
8.0
N
30.1
5.5 h
Y
30.7
6.0 h
N
30.1
6.0 h
N
33.7

6.5
N
22.1

6.5
Y
20.5
6.5
Y
22.7
6.5
Y
23.1
6.5
Y
23.4
8.0
N
29.7
5.5 h
Y
31.2
6.0 h
N
35.1
6.0 h
N
30.8

6.5
N
22.1

6.0 h
N
27.6

4.5 h
Y
20.7

4.5 h
Y
21.4

10

6.0 h
N
33.2

4.5 h
Y
21.2

4.5 h
N
18.4

11

6.0 h
N
33.9

4.5 h
Y
21.4

4.5 h
N
21.2

12

Note. D: groove diameter; Broken: Has the bolt broken?; Y: Yes, the bolt was broken, N (Case colored in grey): No, the bolt was not broken. (The concrete
was fractured.); Lp: pullout load (kN) at the bolt breakage or at the concrete fracture; Texts in bold: Bolt types appropriate for measuring the concrete strength
of the day.

Day 28 (44.8 MPa)

Day 21 (44.3 MPa)

Day 14 (38.4 MPa)

Day 7 (33.2 MPa)

Day 6 (27.9 MPa)

Day 5 (26.8 MPa)

Day 4 (25.9 MPa)

Day 3 (25.4 MPa)

Day 2 (25.9 MPa)

Day 1 (19.6 MPa)

Age (Concrete strength, fc)

TABLE 3 Pullout Test Results for Wall Type 2 (45 MPa)

12

G. LEE ET AL.

analyzed. The data were analyzed in two ways: 1) Case A: considering all of
the cases of concrete fracture (87 cases), and 2) Case B: considering only the
cases in which a concrete mass of the same strength was fractured three
times with the same bolt type (45 out of 87 cases). The correlations between
the compressive strengths of the concrete specimens and the pullout loads at
the concrete fracture were very strong for both cases (Table 4). When all of
the pullout loads at the concrete fracture were considered, the Pearson correlation was 0.902 (p < 0.01). When only cases in which a concrete specimen of the same strength was fractured three times with the same bolt
type were considered, the Pearson correlation was 0.895 (p < 0.01).
Secondly, the relationships between groove size and the compressive
strength of the concrete mass were analyzed to determine the size of groove
required to verify the specific strength of each concrete mass. The relationships were analyzed by linear regression analysis after separating general
bolt data and high-tension bolt data, because the tensile loads per groove
diameter of the two bolt types were different. Since the goal was to determine the groove diameter required for verifying specific concrete strengths,
the groove diameter was set as the dependent variable and the compressive
strength of concrete was set as the predictor. As in the above analyses, only
the cases in which a concrete mass of the same strength was fractured three
times with the same groove size were regarded as valid data for assessing
concrete strength in the analysis (45 cases). The results are shown in
Table 5. The standardized coefficients of both cases were very high (0.879
for the groove diameter of general bolts and the concrete strength, and
0.866 for the groove diameter of high-tension bolts and the concrete
strength), which indicated that the correlations between the groove diameters of both bolt types and the compressive strength (fc) of concrete were
very strong. In addition, the t values (>2) and the significance values (<0.01)
indicate that the results are statistically significant. Therefore, measuring concrete strength using the post-installable break-off bolts is statistically reliable.
TABLE 4 Correlations Between the Compressive Strength of Concrete Specimens and Pullout Loads at the
point of concrete fracture
Pullout load at the
concrete fracture (kN)

Compressive strength of
concrete specimens (MPa)


Pearson correlation
Sig. (2-tailed)
Number of Samples

Case A

Case B

0.902
0.000
87

0.895
0.000
45

Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


Case A: All of the pullout loads at the concrete fracture were considered.
Case B: Only the cases in which a concrete mass of the same strength was fractured three times with the
same bolt type were considered.

A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING A BREAK-OFF BOLT

13

TABLE 5 Regression Results Between Groove Diameters and Concrete Strengths

Unstandardized coefficients
Model
1. General bolt (Constant)
Concrete strength (MPa)
2. High-tension (Constant)
bolt
Concrete strength (MPa)

Standardized
coefficients

Std. Error
3.178
0.131
3.556
0.053

0.272
0.013
0.368
0.010

Beta

0.879
0.866

Sig.

13.575
10.246
9.674
5.481

0.000
0.000
0.000
0.000

Note. Dependent Variable: Groove diameter (mm).

The regression equations between the compressive strength (x) of concrete and the groove diameter (y) were derived as shown below:
General bolt : y 0:131x 3:718R : 0:879; R2 : 0:772; Se : 0:404

High-tension bolt : y 0:053x 3:556R : 0:866; R2 : 0:750; Se : 0:335


2
The R square values indicate that these two models explain 77.2% and
75.0% of the variance, respectively. The standard errors of the estimates
(Se) were 0.404 for the general bolt and 0.335 for the high-tension bolt,
which indicated that the data were scattered very closely along the
regression line (<  2.5).
7. PREDICTION ACCURACY
The prediction accuracy of these equations was examined against the test
data through the following steps:
1. The concrete strength was selected (Tables 2 and 3).
2. The groove diameter that matches the selected concrete strength using the
above equations was predicted.
3. It was determined whether the predicted results were correct or wrong by
comparing the predicted groove diameter and the actual groove diameter
data obtained from experiments (Tables 2 and 3). If the predicted groove
diameter was greater than the actual groove diameter, the prediction was
considered to be wrong.

14

G. LEE ET AL.

TABLE 6 Logic of Determining Prediction Accuracy


Predicted result
Concrete will be fractured.
A bolt will be broken.
A bolt will be broken.
Concrete will be fractured.

Test result

Prediction

Concrete is fractured.
A bolt is broken.
Concrete is fractured.
A bolt is broken.

Correct
Correct
Incorrect
Incorrect

TABLE 7 Prediction Accuracy of the Proposed Equations

Correct cases
Incorrect cases
Total

General bolt

High-tension bolt

Total

91
37
128

41
19
60

132 (70.2%)
56 (29.8%)
188

For example, on day 1, the compressive strength of the 25 MPa concrete


wall was 10.8 MPa. The concrete wall was fractured when general bolts with
5 mm groove diameter were used. The groove diameter for the general bolt
predicted by Eq. (1) is 5.03 mm. This means that the concrete wall is
expected to be fractured when a general bolt with a groove whose diameter
is larger than 5.03 mm is used. However, since the wall was fractured when a
bolt with a smaller groove diameter (5 mm) was used, the prediction was
incorrect. Table 6 summarizes the logic of determining prediction accuracy.
The rate of prediction accuracy was calculated by dividing the number of
correct predictions by the total number of test cases. The overall rate was
70.2%. Out of 188 cases, 132 cases were correct (Table 7). However, the
average differences in the groove diameters for the incorrect cases were
minor: 0.14 mm for the general bolt and 0.09 mm for the high-tension bolt
(Table 8), and the high-tension bolts yielded more reliable results. The
maximum differences in the groove diameters for the incorrect cases were
1.63 mm for the general bolt and 0.52 mm for the high-tension bolt. The standard deviations of the differences in the incorrect cases were 0.32 mm for the
general bolt and 0.17 mm for the high-tension bolt.
To guarantee the safety of concrete structures in all cases, a safety factor
needs to be added to the equation through careful study in the future. The
TABLE 8 Differences in Diameter Sizes in the Incorrect Cases

Average difference
Maximum difference
Standard deviation

General bolt

High-tension bolt

Overall

0.14 mm
1.63 mm
0.32 mm

0.09 mm
0.52 mm
0.17 mm

0.13 mm
1.63 mm
0.28 mm

A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING A BREAK-OFF BOLT

15

next section demonstrates how these equations can be deployed for verifying
whether a concrete wall attains the minimum strength required when removing molds before 28 days.
8. APPLICATION EXAMPLE
This section describes a possible application of the equations described
in previous sections. The purpose of the proposed pullout test using the
post-installable break-off bolt is to simplify the process for testing concrete
strength on a specific day in the field for formwork stripping. Table 9 shows
the minimum concrete compressive strength required for formwork stripping
in South Korea [13]. For vertical members, the concrete strength should be
greater than 5 MPa. For horizontal members, the concrete strength should
be above 14 MPa and 2=3 of the design strength.
Whether a concrete structure has reached the minimum strength required
for formwork stripping can be assessed through the following procedure:
1. Calculate the minimum concrete strength required for formwork stripping
(fcMin).
2. Calculate the groove diameter (dc) to check whether a concrete structure
attains the minimum concrete strength (fcMin).
3. Choose a post-installable break-off bolt with a groove diameter (da)
slightly larger than the calculated groove diameter (dc).
4. It is safe to remove formwork if the chosen post-installable break-off bolt
is fractured in a test at least three times.
For example, if the concrete structure is a wall, the concrete strength should
be at least 5 MPa. If a general bolt is used, the groove diameter should be at
least 4.37 mm according to Eq. (1). If a high-tension bolt is used, the groove
diameter should be at least 3.82 mm according to Eq. (2).
TABLE 9 Minimum Concrete Compressive Strength Required for Formwork Stripping [13]

Members
Vertical members including
footings, beams, columns, and
walls
Slabs, bottom of beams, inside of
arches

Concrete compressive
strength (fcu)
Above 5 MPa

Above 14 MPa and 2=3


of the design strength

16

G. LEE ET AL.

If the structure is a slab, the groove diameter should be at least 5.55 mm


for the general bolt according to Eq. (1) and at least 4.30 mm for the
high-tension bolt according to Eq. (2) to satisfy the 14 MPa requirement. If
the design strength is 35 MPa, the minimum required concrete strength is
23.3 MPa (two thirds of 35 MPa). To meet the two-thirds strength requirement, the groove diameter should be at least 6.77 mm for the general bolt
and at least 4.79 mm for the high-tension bolt. If a safety factor is added to
the equations, the appropriate groove diameters may vary, but the general
test procedure will remain the same.
9. CONCLUSIONS
We proposed a simplified pullout test that does not require a
load-measuring system. The proposed method uses grooved standard bolts
and nuts as insert shafts and insert heads called post-installable break-off
bolts. If the groove diameter necessary for testing a specific concrete strength
is known, field engineers are able to verify whether a concrete structure has
attained the desired strength using only post-installable break-off bolts without requiring the use of load-measuring systems, which are expensive and
heavy. By eliminating the load-measuring system, the cost of the pullout test
kit could be significantly reduced. We conducted a series of tests to derive
equations that were essential to determine the groove sizes appropriate for
assessing specific concrete strength. Post-installable break-off bolts were
manufactured by making grooves on 8 mm general and high-tension bolts.
The reliability of the post-installable break-off bolts was tested through a series of 188 experiments on a 25 MPa test wall and a 45 MPa test wall. The
major findings are as follows:
1. Very strong correlations exist between groove diameter and concrete
compressive strength (0.878 for general bolts and 0.866 for high-tension
bolts).
2. Two regression models were required to verify whether a concrete mass
attained the required strength and were derived from the experiment data:
General bolt : y 0:131x 3:718R : 0:879; R2 : 0:772; Se : 0:404 1
High-tension bolt : y 0:053x 3:556R : 0:866; R2 : 0:750; Se : 0:335
2
where x is the concrete strength, and y is the groove diameter of a
post-installable break-off bolt.
3. The prediction accuracy rates of the two regression models were examined by applying them to the 188 test cases. The prediction accuracy rate
of the first model was 70.2%. However, the average differences in groove

A SIMPLIFIED PULLOUT TEST USING A BREAK-OFF BOLT

17

diameter sizes in the incorrect cases were only 0.14 mm for general bolts
and 0.09 mm for special bolts. An additional study on the safety
coefficient must be conducted.
In addition to the safety coefficient, this study has other limitations. We considered a bolt to be appropriate for testing concrete strength if a concrete
mass was fractured three times using the same post-installable break-off bolt
and the concrete had the specified strength. It might be useful to determine
results when the minimum number of repeatable results is increased, for
example, to five or to seven, or whether post-installable break-off bolts are
applicable to super-high-strength concrete.
REFERENCES
1. ASTM. ASTM C90006 Standard Test Method for Pullout Strength of Hardened Concrete. 10 ASTM
International, West Conshohocken, PA (2006).
2. H. Krenchel. LOK-Strength Testing of Concrete. Structural Research Laboratory, Technical University
of Denmark, Lyngby (1970).
3. C. G. Petersen. Capo Test. Nordisk Betong, Stockholm, Sweden (1980).
4. V. M. Malhotra and G. Carette. American Concrete Institute 77:161170 (1980).
5. P. Bocca. Materials and Structures 17:211216 (1984).
6. C. G. Petersen. Proceedings of Conference on Nondestructive Testing in Civil Engineering.
J. H. Bungey (ed.), British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, Liverpool, U.K., pp. 7796 (1997).
7. Kajima Corporation and F. Bussan. Concrete Pullout Test Device. Japan patent (1987).
8. H.-B. Ko. Journal of the Korean Institute of Building Construction 8:8591 (2008).
9. KSA. KS F 2403 Method of Making and Curing Concrete Specimens. 15 Koran Standards Association
(KSA), Seoul (2005).
10. Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM). Concrete Standard Specification. Seoul,
Korea (2009).
11. S. Uemura, H. Aoyama, and M. Itou. Structure experiment and design. Vol. 9 Kihodoshuppan, Tokyo
(1973).
12. KSA. KS B 0802 Method of Tensile Test for Metallic Materials. Korean Standards Association, Seoul,
Korea (2008).
13. Korea Concrete Institute. Concrete Standard Specification. Ch. 4, Korea Concrete Institute, Seoul,
Korea (2009).

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