Technical Equipment and Testing Methods

Specimen production / sample preparation

  • Concrete laboratory including concrete mixers 75 l and 350 l, fresh concrete testing, production of concrete specimens
  • Cement and mortar laboratory including different mixers, fresh mortar testing, production of mortar samples
  • Aggregate testing laboratory: sieving machines, Los Angeles test
  • Devices for concrete cutting and polishing
  • Concrete cutting and polishing, core drilling machines
  • Laboratory van for on-site testing equipped with drilling core machines and fresh concrete testing devices

Mechanical testing

  • Compression testing machines, range 5 kN to 5000 kN
  • Tensile testing machines, maximum range 50 kN
  • Bending tensile testing machines, maximum range 160 kN (3- and 4-point)
  • Dynamic and static modulus of elasticity
  • Creep testing machines, maximum range 90 kN, 250 kN, 600 kN
  • Individual, customized testing methodes are possible

Porosity / Permeability / Durability

  • Several climatic cabinets
  • Freeze cabinets (min temperature -25°C) with 20°C water flooding
  • Permeability measurement (oxygen, water)
  • Pressure vessels 60 l for water pressure up to 30 bar
  • Chloride diffusion and conductivity
  • Oxage permeability / Oxage diffusion

Climatic chambers

  • Testing and storage chamber with 20°C/35% r. H. (> 20 m2)
  • Testing and storage chamber with 20°C/57% r. H. (> 20 m2)
  • Testing and storage chambers with 20°C/70% r. H. (> 20 m2)
  • Testing and storage chambers with 20°C/90% r. H. (> 20 m2)
  • Storage chamber, 20-60°C, up to 90% r. H. (> 10 m2)
  • Storage chamber down to -27°C (> 15 m2)       

Analytical Methods

  • Isothermal heat flow calorimeter, semiadiabatic calorimeter
  • Ion chromatography
  • Rotational rheometer with air bearing for cement pastes and mortars
  • Measurement equipment for zeta potential determination of particle suspensions
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Thermal analysis (TGA, DTA, DSC)
  • Environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) including different preparation techniques
  • Optical microscopy (transmitted light, reflected light) including different preparation techniques
  • pH-meter
  • Preparation of pore solutions from fresh and hardened cement pastes
  • Determination of organic carbon (TOC) in aqueous solutions
  • Chemical shrinkage
  • Autogenous shrinkage
  • Plastic shrinkage
  • Vibrational spectroscopy, CIR, Raman

In cooperation with other sections at Empa we have access to various other techniques like

  • X-ray powder diffraction
  • X-ray fluorescence analysis
  • Wet chemistry (ICP-OES, ICP-MS, TOC, etc.)
  • Mercury intrusion porosimetry
  • Laser particle sizer
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)

Dr. Frank Winnefeld

Dr. Frank Winnefeld
Group Leader Construction Chemistry

Phone: +41 58 765 4535