The Rock Lab maintains a wide range of mechanical testing, imaging and material characterization instruments, spanning from bench-top microscopes for granular materials to white light interferometry to determine surface roughness. Recently, the Rock Lab has evolved to cater for new research and development directions, broadly within geoenvironment, geomaterials and geohazards.
Imaging surfaces and granular materials: 3D Laser scanner (LPX-60, Roland DG Corporation, Hamamatsu, Japan) to image individual particles. White light interferometer (M3D 3000, Fogal Nanotech, France) to determine surface roughness. Several optical microscopes are also available.
Particle size and shape characterization: QicPic™ (Sympatec GmbH, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany) to obtain 2D profiles of particles, from clay-sized to sands. The resolution of the lens is 10 µm. Cumulative distributions of particle size and particle shape parameters are generated, among them aspect ratio, convexity, and sphericity.
Abrasion testing: Micro-Deval apparatus, with inner diameter of 200 mm and a height of 154 mm and rotates along its horizontal axis at 100 rpm, to abrade granular materials. Ball mill (SPEX8000M, USA) for particle shape and topography alteration.
Surface characterization: CCD-equipped microscope (DSA 25, Krüss, Germany) for contact angle and surface tension measurements, with a fitted climate chamber with RH and temperature control, including supporting equipment to determine water-entry pressure and conduct sample treatments (fume hood).
Rock testing: A high pressure triaxial system is available: MTS 815 Rock Mechanics Test System, with maximum vertical load 2.6 MN and confining pressure up to 130 MPa. For testing of rocks and cemented materials. Photoelastic Apparatus (Gunt FL200) for visualizing photoelasticity experiments in materials. Standard rock material testing is also available: Brazilian test, point load test and various frames for uniaxial compressive tests.
Environmental testing: An array of instruments is available: a furnace, oven, climate chamber, including soil moisture sensors EC-5 (Decagon Devices, USA). The Rock Lab also has the capability to conduct simple microfluidic experiments for biocementation and microcapsules’ synthesis.