Construction Materials Questions

1.   Which section of a contract contains guidelines that ensure fair practices? 

A.  General conditions

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B.  Unit price clause

C.  Project schedule

D.  Specifications

 2.   Which of the following parties involved in the construction of a building is responsible for maintaining up-to-date manufacturer’s safety data sheets (MSDS)? 

A.  Contractor

B.  Designer

C.  Architect

D.  Owner

 3.   When choosing construction materials, choices based on each of the following promote sustainability as a building design factor except 

A.  expense.

B.  useful life span.

C.  effect on energy consumption.

D.  recycling ability.

 4.   A stainless steel pipe measuring 120 feet in length is exposed to temperatures ranging from 30 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. By how many inches would you expect the pipe’s length to change as its temperature changes from one extreme to the other? 

A.  0.75

B.  0.50

C.  0.25

D.  1.25

 5.   Four equal-length beams, each made of a different type of metal, are exposed to a 10-degree F change in temperature. If each of the beams is made from one of the metals listed below, which would experience the greatest change in length? 

A.  Wrought iron

B.  Structural steel

C.  Gray cast iron

D.  Tungsten steel

 6.   The change in the exterior dimensions of an object that results from the application of a force is known as 

A.  deformation.

B.  compression.

C.  strain.

D.  stress.

 7.   What is the safety factor of a steel beam with an allowable stress of 30,000 psi and a failure stress of 45,000 psi? 

A.  1.5

B.  0.15

C.  0.66

D.  6.6

 8.   A rectangular metal bar is subjected to an external applied tensile load of 180,000 pounds. If this results in a calculated stress of 45,000 psi at failure, what are the bar’s cross-sectional dimensions? 

A.  2 inches by 2 inches

B.  1.5 inches by 2 inches

C.  1.5 inches by 1.5 inches

D.  1.5 inches by 2.5 inches

 9.   A material that breaks with very little deformation is best described as 

A.  brittle.

B.  malleable.

C.  ductile.

D.  tensile.

 10.   Repeated exposure to and release from stress over time can cause material failure to occur in a structure. This process is known as 

A.  fatigue.

B.  creep.

C.  shock load.

D.  shear modulus.

 11.   _______ describes a material’s ability to maintain a new different shape after a changing force is removed. 

A.  Plasticity

B.  Elasticity

C.  Conformability

D.  Durability

 12.   The lowest level of stress at which the increased strain on an object does not cause an increase in stress is called yield 

A.  point.

B.  stress.

C.  value.

D.  strain.

 13.   A manufacturers’ association is an organization that seeks to increase the sales of a certain product through different strategies. The _______ would be an example of a manufacturers’ association. 

A.  American Iron and Steel Institute

B.  American Standards Association

C.  American Product Association

D.  American Institute of Steel Construction

 14.   Which of the following is not considered an aggregate? 

A.  Undisturbed soil

B.  Gravel

C.  Sand

D.  Slag

 15.   _______ rock is formed when small particles are deposited by natural causes and combined with cementing material. 

A.  Sedimentary

B.  Granular

C.  Igneous

D.  Metamorphic

 16.   The type of rock mostly formed from the remains of sea creatures is called 

A.  dolomite.

B.  basalt.

C.  gneiss.

D.  shale.

 17.   A wheel load force is spread over a rectangular area 24-inches-by-18-inches and results in a pressure of 2575 lbs per square foot. What is the weight of the wheel load force? 

A.  7725 lbs

B.  596 lbs

C.  858 lbs

D.  11,124 lbs

 18.   A compactor with a five-foot drum is traveling at eight miles per hour over a one foot lift of aggregate base. If it makes five passes, the device will compact _______ cubic yards per hour. 

A.  1565

B.  2026

C.  163

D.  130

 19.   _______ measure is used to determine the volume of aggregates during the transportation process. 

A.  Loose

B.  Compacted

C.  Bank

D.  Transient

 20.   To strengthen 2½ tons (5000 lbs) of aggregate using stabilization, how many pounds of salt must be added to the proper amount of water? 

A.  100 lbs

B.  50 lbs

C.  25 lbs

D.  10 lbs

 21.   The type of filter that prevents particles from entering a well is a 

A.  gravel pack.

B.  sand filter.

C.  gravel filter.

D.  water filter.

 22.   In sieve analysis, the percentage of the total larger than the sieve is the 

A.  cumulative percent retained.

B.  percent retained.

C.  percent passing.

D.  weight retained.

 23.   A gradation in which most of the particles are either very large or very small is called 

A.  skip graded.

B.  size graded.

C.  uniform graded.

D.  well graded.

 24.   A fine aggregate has a bulk-unit weight of 117.5 pcf and a specific gravity of 2.7. What is the approximate percentage of voids in this particular aggregate? 

A.  30

B.  50

C.  70

D.  90

 25.   _______ is the weight-to-volume description that defines an aggregate’s weight as solid matter and having enough water to fill its pores. 

A.  Saturated surface dry weight

B.  Saturated surface dry volume

C.  Bulk volume

D.  Wet weight

 26.   An aggregate with a volume of .3727 cubic feet and a moisture content of 7.2 percent weighs 42.31 pounds. What is its dry density? 

A.  105.89 pcf

B.  66 pcf

C.  113.52 pcf

D.  157.66 pcf

 27.   An aggregate has the following measured values: a SSD weight of 4670 g in air, a submerged weight of 2860, and an OD weight of 4550. What is the apparent-specific gravity of the aggregate? 

A.  2.69

B.  2.58

C.  2.51

D.  0.026

 28.   You’re building a sidewalk using Portland cement-concrete in a place that will have a mild exposure to weather. Because of these factors, the amount of chert allowed in the coarse aggregate must be _______ percent or less. 

A.  5

B.  7

C.  3

D.  1

 29.   The lightweight aggregate created from burning coal is called 

A.  fly ash.

B.  lignite.

C.  slag.

D.  diatomite.

 30.   Which of the following aggregates would best increase heat insulation in concrete? 

A.  Vermiculite

B.  Diatomite

C.  Lignite

D.  Cinders

1. The total amount of alloys contained in high-strength, low-alloy steels is _______ percent.

A. 3–4

B. 1–2

C. 4–5

D. 2–3

2. A _______ test determines the relative amount of asphalt-cement present as strings or large globules.

A. demulsibility

B. sieve

C. settlement

D. distillation

3. The most frequently used type of welding process is a _______ weld.

A. groove

B. plug

C. butt

D. fillet

4. To build a 12-foot-by-20-foot parking area designed to be 2 inches thick, how many tons of asphalt

concrete would the rule-of-thumb estimating method require?

A. 22

B. 45

C. 3

D. 4.5

5. The welding method that protects metal from atmospheric damage by using a welding rod coated with

flux is known as the _______ method.

A. gas metal-arc

B. flux-coated arc

C. submerged-arc

D. shielded metal-arc

6. Before starting the overlaying process, older pavements with small cracks should be treated with a

A. wax seal.

B. fog seal.

C. leveling seal.

D. tar seal.

7. Which of the following ferrous metals typically has the highest percentage of phosphorus in its


A. Wrought iron

B. White cast iron

C. Gray cast iron

D. Malleable cast iron

8. Low viscosity can cause an asphalt surface to become compacted. This problem can be corrected by

A. increasing the temperature and using a light roller.

B. decreasing the temperature and using a light roller.

C. decreasing the temperature and using a heavy roller.

D. increasing the temperature and using a heavy roller.

9. If you were building pavement over an average clay loam soil to make a parking lot for heavy trucks, the

pavement must be _______ inches thick.

A. five to six

B. two to four

C. four to six

D. six to eight

10. Which Superpave binder test measures strain and fracture strength at the point of failure?





11. Adding ______ will remove excess sulfur from iron ore.

A. phosphorus

B. manganese

C. silicon

D. carbon

12. When an asphalt load appears to be flat, this indicates a mix

A. is too hot.

B. has too little asphalt.

C. has too much asphalt.

D. is too cold.

13. The process of heating steel to a temperature slightly lower than 1500 degrees F and then using a

furnace to slowly reduce its temperature several hundred degrees is called

A. annealing.

B. tempering.

C. quenching.

D. normalizing.

14. A large rectangular paving project has planned dimensions of 200 by 300 feet. Also, the project

requires 6 inches of pavement thickness if the unit weight of the product is equal to 145 lbs per cubic foot.

Using this information, how many tons of asphalt concrete will be needed?

A. 2250

B. 1087.5

C. 1125

D. 2175

15. What is the compaction percentage of an asphalt concrete mix where the density of the field core is

145.3 and the density in laboratory tests was 150.2?

A. 96.6

B. 97.6

C. 97.7

D. 96.7

16. A No. 6 rebar is subjected to a tensile load of 12,500 lbs. What is the total stress in the rebar?

A. 28,345 psi

B. 7078 psi

C. 20,799 psi

D. 14,286 psi

17. Which of the following Superpave binder grades does not require modification of the asphalt binder?

A. PG 72-22

B. PG 64-32

C. PG 62-32

D. PG 64-22

18. Which of the following is an acceptable air-void percentage of a hot-mix asphalt mixture (HMA)?

A. 4.2

B. 2.4

C. 2.6

D. 6.2

19. When building in areas where resistance to corrosion is necessary, it’s better to use

A. pig iron.

End of exam

B. white cast iron.

C. wrought iron.

D. gray cast iron.

20. Which of the following ferrous metals typically has the lowest percentage of carbon in its composition?

A. Steel

B. Temporary cast iron

C. Pig iron

D. Firm cast iron

Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page

break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Each of the following elements are used to make cement except

A. silica.

B. iron.

C. lime.

D. phosphate.

2. Clay, limestone, and sand are raw material sources used in the production of

A. alumina.

B. calcium.

C. silica.

D. sulfate.

3. A standard 6 × 12 inch concrete specimen has a calculated splitting tensile strength of 398 psi. The

maximum load allowable for this specimen would be

A. 4500 lbs.

B. 45,000 lbs.

C. 9000 lbs.

D. 90,000 lbs.

4. A concrete mix has a unit weight of 146.2 and batch weights composed of the following substances: 625

lbs of water, 1150 lbs of cement, 5400 lbs of C/A, and 3235 of lbs F/A. Using this information, what is the

yield of the concrete mix?

A. 71.20 cubic yards

B. 2.64 cubic yards

C. 26.4 cubic yards

D. 38.5 cubic yards

5. What is the required mixing time for 10 cubic yards of concrete when using a stationary mixer for a job

such as building a dam?

A. 2 minutes 15 seconds

B. 4 minutes 15 seconds

C. 1 minute 15 seconds

D. 3 minutes 15 seconds

6. A dusting floor on a flat concrete slab is often caused by

A. low cement content.

B. carbon dioxide.

C. high cement content.

D. insufficient water.

7. A six-inch-diameter concrete cylinder fails at a load of 95,000 lbs. What is the calculated compressive


A. 23.17 psi

B. 23.17 MPa

C. 3360 MPa

D. 336 psi

8. When building a cold-weather sidewalk that will be exposed to salts and chemicals used for ice removal,

the preferred type of Portland cement is

A. ASTM C 150 Type I.

B. ASTM C 175 Type II.

C. ASTM C 150 Type III.

D. ASTM C175 Type I.

9. The concrete producer for a construction project has a standard deviation of 575 psi and a mean of

3550. The control level for this coefficient of variation would be described as

A. poor.

B. excellent.

C. good.

D. fair.

10. _______ is the chemical compound that hardens slowly and adds strength later during the curing

process of concrete.

A. Tricalcium silicate

B. Dicalcium silicate

C. Tricalcium aluminate

D. Tetracalcium aluminate

11. The transportation of concrete to the job site will normally result in a(n)

A. slight increase in air content.

B. negligible effect on the air content.

C. air loss of 1–2%.

D. air loss of 2–3%.

12. Concrete consists of 20 to 40 percent of a material called paste, which is created by mixing

A. sand, cement and water.

B. sand, stone, and water.

C. water and cement.

D. water and sand.

13. Concrete applied to a surface using high-velocity compressed air is known as

A. slurry.

B. air-entrained.

C. oxyconcrete.

D. shortcrete.

14. All the following common materials may have harmful effects on hardened and unprotected concrete


A. milk.

B. oxalic acid.

C. iron sulfate.

D. calcium chloride.

15. A concrete mix has a yield of 120 cubic feet and contains the following batch weights: 1520 lbs of

water, 2500 lbs of cement, 8120 lbs of C/A, and 5900 lbs of F/A. Using this information, what is the unit

weight of the concrete mix?

A. 55.6 lbs/cubic yard

B. 150.3 lb/cubic yard

C. 55.6 lbs/cubic ft

D. 150.3 lb/cubic ft

16. The concrete mix ratio is 5.8 water to 4.5 concrete. If you were to change the ratio to 5.6 water to 4.5

concrete, the strength at 28 days will be

A. increased by 100 psi.

B. increased by 400 psi.

C. decreased by 200 psi.

D. unaffected.

17. Common guidelines for placing contraction joints in a concrete slab would require spacing for a 4-inchthick

slab to be done at _______-foot intervals.

A. 10

B. 8

C. 6

D. 12

18. A 10-foot-square decorative flag pole area requires the construction of a 9-inch-thick nonreinforcedconcrete

slab. What is the maximum aggregate size that can be used in the mix?

A. 1 inch

B. 3 inch

End of exam

C. 2 inch

D. Any workable size aggregate can be used.

19. During the placement process, concrete should typically not be placed at temperatures exceeding

A. 85 degrees F.

B. 90 degrees F.

C. 80 degrees F.

D. 75 degrees F.

20. When the air content of concrete

A. increases, its strength increases.

B. changes, there’s little change in durability or strength.

C. decreases, its durability increases.

D. decreases, its durability decreases.

1. _______ stress is induced by longitudinal pressure.

A. Tension parallel to grain

B. Compression parallel to grain

C. Compression perpendicular to grain

D. Horizontal shear

2. Rift-cut hardwood lumber is known as

A. flat grain.

B. plain sawed.

C. quarter sawed.

D. edge grain.

3. Which of the following materials has the greatest R-value per inch?

A. Perlite

B. Vermiculite

C. Wood

D. Mortar

4. When grading wood, an unevenness between springwood and summerwood on the surface of dressed

lumber would be classified as

A. torn grain.

B. splits.

C. skips.

D. raised grain.

5. To which classification of tree species does the Western Red Cedar belong?

A. Group 1

B. Group 2

C. Group 4

D. Group 3

6. Two boards have the following measurements: ¾ inches thick by 6 inches wide by 12 feet long. Using

this information, how many total board feet are contained in the two boards?

A. 108

B. 12

C. 144

D. 9

7. The most common preservation treatment for pressure-treated wood is

A. creosote.

B. chromated copper arsenate.

C. ammonium copper quaternary.

D. copper napthenate.

8. _______ would be an allowable span distance for a #2 Spruce-Pine-Fir 2 × 6 ceiling joist placed 24

inches on center.

A. 10′ 4″

B. 12′ 8″

C. 11′ 11″

D. 9′ 8″

9. The _______ method is the most common type of brick-forming method.

A. wet-press

B. dry-press

C. stiff-mud

D. soft-mud

10. You’re constructing an 8-foot-high-by-24-foot-long wall with a 3-foot-by-3-foot window opening using

8-inch-by-8-inch-by-16-inch CMUs. How much mortar would be required to build this wall?

A. 13.7 cubic feet

B. 15.45 cubic feet

C. 16.25 cubic feet

D. 20.6 cubic feet

11. Aggregates used in the production of CMUs are typically _______ of an inch or smaller.

A. 3/4

B. 5/8

C. 3//8

D. 1/2

12. A piece of lumber measuring six-inches-by-seven-inches would be graded as a

A. post.

B. dimension lumber.

C. beam.

D. stringer.

13. You’re trying to construct a 9-foot-high wall that’s 64 feet long and has two 4-foot-by-4 foot window

openings. For this project, how many 8-by-8-by-16 inch CMUs would you need?

A. 612

B. 540

C. 630

D. 571

14. The most common load on the wood of a nailed joint is a

A. lateral load in end grain.

B. withdrawal from side grain.

C. withdrawal from end grain.

D. lateral load in side grain.

15. All of the following wood-destroying pests damage lumber by eating it except

A. marine borers.

B. subterranean termites.

C. carpenter ants.

D. nonsubterranean termites.

16. The strength of a steam cured CMU block is _______ that of a moist cured block.

A. more than double

B. the same as

C. slightly less than

D. significantly less than

17. The following condition has a White fir stud grade of 2 × 6 and repetitive framing with a 10-year

normal load. Using this information, the allowable fb value is _______ psi.

A. 854

B. 776

C. 697

D. 768

18. Retempering a mortar mix will

A. increase the compressive strength and decrease the bond strength.

B. increase the compressive strength and increase the bond strength.

C. reduce the compressive strength and increase the bond strength.

D. reduce the compressive strength and decrease the bond strength.

19. The layer of the tree that contains the most resins and gums is the

A. hardwood.

End of exam

B. heartwood.

C. cambium.

D. sapwood.

20. Which of the following tree species has the greatest modulus of elasticity?

A. Standard-grade Western Larch

B. Construction-grade Douglas Fir South

C. No.1 grade Western Hemlock

D. No. 1 grade Spruce-Pine-Fir

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