Does portland cement get "stale"?

Does bagged ordinary portland cement get stale after a while? --in other words does it lose it's ability to perform up to it's specification? If so, how can I tell if its not worth using?
I have about 5 sacks that have sat in my garage for several years. While the powder hasn't hardened its somewhat cakey or crusty.
--Zeb
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On 31 Mar 2006 09:56:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Unless you've got a calcining furnace, what you've got there is 5 bags of clean fill.
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I was in the same boat as you last fall, with a couple of old bags in the garage, probably about four-five years old. Wanted to use them to set a fence post.
Did some googling and while I don't remember the exact reasons, etc. Basically it won't work. So, I spent $13 on a bag of rapid set, which nearly set too quick (15 minutes and that stuff was HARD).
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Humidity get's to it and it's no longer anywhere near it's rated strength. What you've now got is some fill, admittedly something that will, when mixed with water pack down realy good. If all you're doing is a very low demand fencepost sort of thing, sure, maybe for some out of sight fill. But other than that, it's shot: anything you mix up will be very low strength and crumbly.
John
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If it's been in there for years then forget about using it.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Yes, it does.

See below. :-)

They're no good.

That's how you tell that it's no good. You see, the stuff cures by means of a chemical reaction with the water that you add to it. The same reaction occurs (more slowly, but it occurs nonetheless) with water vapor in the air, causing the powder to become cakey and crusty. The chemical reaction can occur only once -- and now that it's already happened, it won't happen again. You have five sacks of garbage.

--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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