Schmidt Hammer / Rebound Hammer

A Schmidt hammer, also known as a Swiss hammer or a rebound hammer, is a device to measure the elastic properties or strength of concrete or rock, mainly surface hardness and penetration resistance..

Schmidt Hammer

The hammer measures the rebound of a spring-loaded mass impacting against the surface of the sample.

The test hammer will hit the concrete at a defined energy.

Its rebound is dependent on the hardness of the concrete and is measured by the test equipment.

By reference to the conversion chart, the rebound value can be used to determine the compressive strength.

The test provides a direct indication of the undrained shear strength of the soil, which can be used to verify assessments of soil consistency; and provides a more accurate estimate of the net allowable bearing capacity for foundation design.

When conducting the test the hammer should be held at right angles to the surface which in turn should be flat and smooth.

The rebound reading will be affected by the orientation of the hammer, when used in a vertical position (on the underside of a suspended slab for example) gravity will increase the rebound distance of the mass and vice versa for a test conducted on a floor slab.

The Schmidt hammer is an arbitrary scale ranging from 10 to 100. Schmidt hammers are available from their original manufacturers in several different energy ranges. These include: (i) Type L-0.735 Nm impact energy, (ii) Type N-2.207 Nm impact energy; and (iii) Type M-29.43 Nm impact energy.

The test is also sensitive to other factors:

Local variation in the sample. To minimize this it is recommended to take a selection of readings and take an average value.

Water content of the sample, a saturated material will give different results from a dry one.

Prior to testing, the Schmidt hammer should be calibrated using a calibration test anvil supplied by the manufacturer for that purpose.

12 readings should be taken, dropping the highest and lowest, and then take the average of the ten remaining.

Using this method of testing is classed as indirect as it does not give a direct measurement of the strength of the material.

It simply gives an indication based on surface properties, it is only suitable for making comparisons between samples.


When conducting the test the hammer should be held at right angles to the surface which in turn should be flat and smooth.

The top surface film of cement should be removed using a grinding stone.

12 readings should be taken over a half meter square area the mean of which is recorded and converted to compressive strength.

Forgotten to take cubes!! Use the Schmidt hammer.

Shear Vane