Laboratory Units - Chemical Testing Unit

Cement Lab
This laboratory performs quantitative testing on cement, aggregates, lime, fly ash, mineral filler, and water. Specific chemical properties of these materials are determined by gravimetric tests and atomic absorption spectroscopy testing.

Metals Lab
This laboratory performs tests to determine the amount of zinc coating on galvanized materials such as metal culvert pipe, steel fence posts and wire, and all types of hardware, bolts, nuts, and shapes. This laboratory is also responsible for preparing test specimens of various metal products such as bolts, nuts, washers, steel fence posts, culvert pipe, and stainless steel. These prepared test specimens are forwarded to the Quantitative Lab for testing.

Paint Lab
Performs physical testing on paints, coatings, and related products, such as glass beads used in traffic striping paints and all-purpose blasting sand. Some of the properties tested are weight per gallon, viscosity, percent solids, particle size, gradation, and refractive index. These properties must conform to established limits or the material is rejected.

Quantitative Lab
This laboratory performs quantitative analysis on structural steel, hardware, fence posts, culvert pipe and other metals, herbicides and application aids, epoxies, wood preservatives, oils, cleansers, thermoplastic striping materials and materials for environmental control. Various standard test methods, atomic absorption spectroscopy, and the Leco Determinator are employed to perform these analyses.

Spectroscopy Lab
In this laboratory, infrared spectroscopy (IR) is used to establish the identity of organic materials to help determine their conformance to specification by comparison of individual IR spectrum to a standard spectrum. Identities are established for admixtures for portland cement concrete, anti-strip additives for asphaltic concrete, paint vehicles, solvents, resins, and various other organic materials. X-ray diffractometry is used to identify and determine the concentration of certain components in paint pigment, cement, fly ash, and other materials having crystalline structured components. Gas chromatography is used to determine the composition and concentration of organic liquids, such as percent alcohol in gasohol, and various chemical components in paint thinners, paint vehicles, and other organic liquids.

About The Chemical Testing Unit
This unit performs chemical testing for acceptance and quality control of materials and products used in the Department's construction and maintenance program and for in-house operations. In addition to routine acceptance and quality control chemical testing, this unit also provides trouble-shooting services on problems of a chemical nature, such as analyzing used oil from motor-driven equipment and aircraft to monitor engine wear. It also assists project engineers with problems on coating systems.