Basic Civil Engineering Questions and Answers – Properties of Cement


This set of Basic Civil Engineering Multiple Choice Questions & Answers (MCQs) focuses on “Properties of Cement”.

1. Why is natural cement used very limitedly?
a) Brown in Colour
b) Standard consistency is not met with
c) Sets too quickly
d) Particle size is too fine
View Answer

Answer: c
Explanation: Natural cement sets very quickly after the addition of water and hence it is not quite workable. Artificial cement is preferred over this.


2. Who invented Portland cement and in which year?
a) William Aspdin, 1824
b) William Aspdin, 1840s
c) Joseph Aspdin, 1840s
d) Joseph Aspdin, 1824
View Answer

Answer: b
Explanation: Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement in 1824. William Aspdin, his son is regarded as the inventor of modern Portland cement due to his developments in 1840s.

3. What is the average particle size of cement?
a) 15 microns
b) 45 microns
c) 75 microns
d) 100 microns
View Answer

Answer: a
Explanation: Approximately 95% of cement particles are smaller than 45 microns and the average particle size is 15 microns.

4. What is the meaning of soundness of cement?
a) Ability to flow when mixed
b) Ability to make ringing noise when struck
c) Ability to form strong and sound structure
d) Ability to retain volume after setting.
View Answer

Answer: d
Explanation: When cement paste hardens and sets, it should not undergo any volume change. Soundness ensures this and is tested using Autoclave expansion test.

5. Time elapsed from the instance of adding water until paste ceases to behave as fluid is called:
a) Initial setting time
b) Final setting time
c) Intermediate setting time
d) Absolute setting time
View Answer

Answer: a
Explanation: Final setting time is the time required for cement paste to reach a certain state of hardness. Option c and d does not exist.

6. Which of the below mentioned is not a result of field test performed on cement?
a) There should not be any lumps
b) It should feel cold when you put your hand in bag of cement
c) The colour should be blackish grey
d) It should not be gritty when rubbed with finger
View Answer

Answer: c
Explanation: The colour of cement is normally grey with a greenish tint. There are different shades – lighter and darker, but it does not go as dark as blackish grey.

7. Which equipment is used to test the setting time of cement?
a) Core cutter
b) Vibrator
c) Universal testing machine (UTM)
d) Vicat apparatus
View Answer

Answer: d
Explanation: Core cutter is used to determine dry density of soil. Vibrator is used in sieve analysis. UTM can be used to test various parameters – tension, bending, shear of various materials. Vicat apparatus consists of a needle, used to penetrate the cement paste sample.

8. What is the initial setting time of cement?
a) 1 hour
b) 30 minutes
c) 15 minutes
d) 30 hours
View Answer

Answer: b
Explanation: As per IS code 4031-part 5, the initial setting time of cement is minimum of 30 minutes. After this cement will start losing its plasticity and will not be workable.

9. Use of coarser cement particles leads to:
a) Low durability
b) Higher strength
c) Low consistency
d) Higher soundness
View Answer

Answer: a
Explanation: For coarser particles, hydration starts on the surface of particles, hence, it might not be completely hydrated. This causes low strength and low durability.


10. Wet cement can cause severe skin burns if not washed off with water immediately.
a) True
b) False
View Answer

Answer: a
Explanation: Cement is highly alkaline and setting process is exothermic. Wet cement is strongly caustic and causes skin burns. Similarly, dry cement causes eye or respiratory irritation, when it comes in contact with mucous membranes.

11. Green cement is:
a) Green coloured cement
b) Cement mixed with plant products
c) Cement mixed with recycled materials
d) Cement mixed with green algae
View Answer

Answer: c
Explanation: Green cement is a cementitious material which employs the use of optimized recycled materials. These can meet or even exceed the functional performance of Portland cement.

12. What is the depth the needle in Vicat apparatus should penetrate into the cement paste in consistency test?
a) 33-35 cm from bottom of the mould
b) 33-35 mm from top of the mould
c) 33-35 cm from top of the mould
d) 33-35 mm from bottom of the mould
View Answer

Answer: b
Explanation: The best procedure has been clearly mentioned in IS 4031 Part 4. According to the code, 33-35mm depth of penetration is ideal.

Sanfoundry Global Education & Learning Series – Basic Civil Engineering.

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