The Engineering Geology Laboratory provides testing services for ground and construction materials, such as soils, rocks, and aggregates, to determine and evaluate their physical, mechanical, and geotechnical properties. Geotechnical information are very vital to civil engineers and architects, because these information can ensure the suitability of materials for engineering construction. All tests in the laboratory are carried out according to the ASTM, BS, and ISRM standards, using a range of material testing devices. The laboratory principally provides services for the SGS projects as well as to the laboratory testing needs of other government and private sectors.

Soil testing

The laboratory carries out the evaluation of engineering properties of soils to determine their behaviors and their suitability for engineering construction. Soil testing includes the determination and evaluation of:

  • Soil classification
  • Triaxial compressive strength (UU, CU, CD)
  • Consolidation test
  • Shear box test

Soil samples description and classification equipment.


Oedometer test device.

Rock and aggregate testing

The engineering properties (physical and mechanical) are determined based on the behavior, impact, and suitability of the rock samples for civil engineering purposes. The rock and aggregate testing include:

  • Uniaxial compressive strength and deformability (static elastic moduli) (Figs. 3 and 4)
  • Physical test
  • Slake durability test
  • Point load test
  • Determination of aggregate impact value

Compressive strength device.

Testing the compressive strength of a rock sample.


Laboratory Services Provided

- Soil testing

  * Specific gravity of soils

  * Laboratory determination of moisture content of soils

  * Particle size analysis (mechanical method)

  * Particle size analysis (hydrometer method)

  * Liquid limit, plastic limit, and plasticity index of soils

  * Shrinkage factors of soils

  * Classification of soils for engineering purposes

  * Maximum index density and unit weight of soils using a vibratory table

  * Minimum index density and unit weight of soils and calculation of relative density

  * Amount of material in soils finer than the no. 200 sieve

  * Moisture density relations of soils and soil aggregate mixture

  * California-bearing ratio of laboratory compacted soils

  * Unconfined compressive strength of soils

  * Direct shear test of soils under consolidated drained conditions ASTM-D-3080

  * Unconsolidated undrained compressive strength of cohesive soils in triaxial compression

  * Consolidated undrained triaxial compression test on cohesive soils

  * Permeability of granular soils (constant head)

  * Permeability of granular soils (falling head)

  * One-dimensional consolidated properties of soils

  * One-dimensional swell or settlement potential of cohesive soils

- Rock testing

  * Determination of the water content, porosity, density, and absorption of rocks

  * Determination of the point load strength of rocks

  * Determination of the shear strength LSRM-suggested

  * Triaxial compressive strength of undrained rock cores without pore pressure measurement

  * Unconfined compressive strength of intact rock cores

  * Elastic modules of intact rock cores in uniaxial compression

  * Elastic modules of undrained intact rock cores in triaxial compression without pore pressure measurement

  * Laboratory determination of pulse velocities and ultrasonic elastic constants of rocks

  * Slake durability of shales and similar weak rocks

  * Absorption and bulk specific gravity of dimension stones

  * Compressive strength of dimension stones

  * Modulus of rupture of dimension stones

- Aggregate testing

  * Particle size analysis

  * Flakiness index

  * Elongation index

  * Angularity number

  * Water absorption

  * Bulk density

  * Moisture content of aggregates

  * Aggregate impact value

  * Aggregate crushing strength

  * Aggregate abrasion value

  * Ten per cent fines value

  * Sieve analysis of fine and coarse aggregates

  * Specific gravity and absorption coarse aggregates

  * Specific gravity and absorption fine aggregates

  * Unit weight and voids in aggregates

  * Materials finer than no. 200 sieve in mineral aggregates by washing

  * Light weight pieces in aggregates

  * Organic impurities in sands for concrete

  * Clay lumps and friable particles in aggregates

  * Resistance to abrasion of small size coarse aggregates by using the Los Angeles machine

  * Resistance to abrasion of large size coarse aggregates by using the Los Angeles machine

  * Sand equivalent value of soils and fine aggregates

  * Soundness of aggregates by using sodium sulfate or magnesium sulfate

  * Potential alkali reactivity of aggregates (mortar bar method)

  * Potential alkali reactivity of carbonate rocks in concrete aggregate (rock cylinder method)

  * Potential alkali-silica reactivity of aggregate (chemical method)

- Concrete testing

  * Specific gravity, absorption, and voids in hardened concrete samples

  * Slump of hydraulic cement concrete samples

  * Length change of hardened hydraulic cement mortar and concrete samples

  * Length change of concrete due to alkali-carbonate rock reaction

  * Pulse velocity through the concrete samples

  * Compressive strength of cylindrical concrete specimens

  * Flexural strength of concrete (using simple beam with third point loading)

  * Flexural strength of concrete (using simple beam with center point loading)

  * Mechanical properties of hardened concrete under triaxial loads

  * Rebound number of hardened concrete samples

  * Static modulus of elasticity and Poisson's ratio of concrete in compression

  * Splitting tensile strength of cylinder concrete specimens

  * Fly ash or natural pozzolans for use as a material admixture in Portland cement concrete, sampling, and testing

- Field testing

  * Mechanical cone penetration tests of soils

  * Density of soils and rocks in place by sand replacement method in a test bit

  * Permeability

  * Soil investigation and sampling by auger boring

  * Plate bearing