June 3, 2005
While pouring the concrete footers for the 2005 Maryland Solar Decathlon home, team members also poured two sample cylinders for later testing and analysis. After sufficient curing time, Project Manager Rob Murray and Assistant Project Manager Dan Vlacich took the cylinders to the Department of Civil Engineering's Materials Laboratory to perform a compression test.
Using equipment in the facility, breaking strengths for both the commercial mix concrete cylinder and the bag concrete mix cylinder were determined. Force was applied to each of the cylinders gradually until the cylinder broke with a loud pop. The cylinders were then removed from the machinery to analyze the break pattern qualitatively.
The tests showed that both concrete cylinders exceeded the team's design specifications for strength. This will enable the Maryland team to supplement their structural calculations for the home with experimental data to back their original analysis.
Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Website