Material Technical Services
Our vision is to perform world class product assessment and quality technical services.
Boral Materials Technical Services Facility, offers an extensive range of compliance testing for: aggregates, rocks, pavement materials, soils, asphalt, cement, cementitious, mortar & grouts, concrete, waters and wastewaters, heavy metals, dust monitoring and provides quality control testing for Boral's quarry products.
Maintaining high standards is vitally important in all aspects of Boral's business and it is the role of the Materials Technical Services Laboratory at Baulkham Hills, NSW, to ensure that Boral's International Standards remain at the forefront of quality.
The Boral Materials Technical Services Facility operates as a consultancy, undertaking troubleshooting for various divisions and for external customers.
These include: Jamaica - concrete trial mixes for construction of an aluminium smelter. Singapore - assessment of steel fibre performance in concrete. Dubai - special testing to assess the quality of the concrete used in the highest building in the world.
Boral Materials Technical Services Facility is uniquely qualified to provide:
- Standard testing services for construction materials
- Customised testing services for large scale testing or material assessment projects
- Consultancy services or technical advice on the compliance, performance and durability of construction materials, modifications to existing building materials, field investigations and assessment services, technical troubleshooting
- Forensic engineering applications and expert technical advice on litigations and material compliance, performance and durability, material diagnostic or related issues
- Preparation of material specifications and assessment of tender documents
- Environmental site assessment and monitoring
- Conceptual mix designs and feasibility or reliability studies.
- Construction and road-making materials
- Aggregates, rocks, dimension stone
- Soils/pavement materials (road bases, sub-bases)
Cement-based construction products
- Cement, cementitious materials (fly ash, slag, silica fume), mortars & grouts, admixtures, curing compounds
- Building materials: bricks, pavers/masonry units, rooftiles
- Environmental monitoring and assessment
The capital investment was a direct result of an increasingly wider and more complex range of technical projects being taken on board. In order to maintain our competitive advantage over other materials services group, we are taking important steps in upgrading and modernising our laboratory capabilities, including the acquisition of a series of advanced tools and instruments.
This website is intended to provide potentially interested clients with brief information on these (2) new tools, including their use and typical applications:
Multiwave 3000 used for samples preparation for total recoverable metals analysis by ICP (Inductively coupled plasma) or any other analytical instrument. The sample preparation improved by using the Multiwave without changing the chemistry of the method, reduced the risk of contamination of the samples and reduced the workload between sample collection and spectrometric analysis.
Multiwave 3000 with Rotor 16 are designed for both high productivity and excellent digestion performance without compromising safety. Two different types of up to 16 PTFE-TFM vessels per run cope with a wide selection of samples, which require reaction conditions of up to 40 bars and 240 °C.
An immersing pressure/temperature sensor in one reference vessel provides accurate reaction control. Tool-free and easy vessel handling allows for safe and convenient routine work. The unique sensor and vessel technology solves even the most complex decomposition tasks safely and reliably.
Typical sample application: Soil samples, Plant material, sewage sludge, water, mixed waste, slag, ashes, water, effluents.
Disc Mill DM 200 (RETSCH)
This robust mill is primarily used under rough working conditions in laboratories and pilot plants. With its high throughput of up to 150 kg/h, it is also suitable for small scale production lines. The main fields of application of the DM 200 are:
- Construction and building materials testing (Sample preparation for chemical and mechanical testing)
- Mining and metallurgy
- Ceramics and glass
- Mineralogy and materials
- Accurate gap setting for reproducible grinding results
- Short grinding times, high final fineness
- Observation window for checking the gap width
- Good grinding chamber accessibility
- Contamination-free grinding with grinding discs made from 4 different materials Dust-free grinding and easy cleaning
- Environmental monitoring and assessment
In the DM 200 the feed material enters the dustproof chamber from the filling hopper and is fed centrally between two vertical grinding discs. A moving grinding disc rotates against a fixed one and draws in the feed material. The necessary comminution effects are generated by pressure and frictional forces.
The progressively arranged grinding disc meshing first subjects the sample to preliminary crushing; centrifugal force then moves it to the outer regions of the grinding discs where fine comminution takes place.
The processed sample exits through the grinding gap and is collected in a receiver. The gap width between the grinding discs is continuously adjustable and can be adjusted during operation in the range between 0.1 and 5 mm; an additional observation window is provided for checking the gap setting.
With the increasing community and regulatory expectations relating to environmental and sustainability performance, Boral Materials Technical Services Facility is pro-actively improving and increasing the services it offers.
Environmental Dust Monitoring
Environmental dust monitoring services including gravimetric and direction monitoring is provided as per Australian Standard and State Environmental Protection Authority Guidelines.
Waters and Wastewater Chemical Testing
The Boral Materials Technical Services Facility is capable of undertaking the sampling and analysis of various types of waters including surface, ground and trade waste discharges. We can also prepare water sampling plans to suite specific sites.
Heavy Metal Analysis
Recent additions to our Chemistry Section, including Microwave Digestion and an ICP have improved the quality and efficiency of analysing heavy metals in soils and waters. This is being demanded more by regulators especially in regards to recycled construction and demolition products.
The Boral Materials Technical Services Facility is involved in the monitoring of a large number of Boral production sites including quarries, asphalt plants, concrete plants, recycling depots and transport depots. Assistance is provided by way of environmental compliance audits, collation of data for sustainability reporting such as the National Pollutant Inventory and implementing Environmental Management Systems into sites.
Construction Materials Testing
Aggregates are used in various construction applications, primarily in concrete, asphalt or as a filter medium. The main areas for aggregates testing
- Aggregate physical properties
- Aggregate particle shape properties
- Aggregate soundness and durability properties
- Chemical characteristics of the aggregate, sand or filter products
- Testing of dimension stone includes physical, mechanical and durability properties.
- - Compression testing machine for determination of
- Paver tumbler for abrasion testing of pavers Los Angeles
abrasion machine for determination of abrasion resistance
of aggregates Deval attrition machine used mainly for
determining the attrition resistance of the rail ballast
Horizontal and vertical polishing machines used to
artificially polish aggregates.
- Pendulum skid tester for determination of skid resistance
of aggregates, tiles and pavers Tyler shaker (power-
operated) used to determine the degradation factor by
self-abrasion Sieve shaker (power-operated) used to
separate aggregates into individual fractions
Testing of soils and pavement materials is essential for the quality control of road construction materials, such as bases and sub-bases. The critical characteristics of the pavement materials are consistency, durability and workability.
These characteristics are related to the soils properties and controlled by quality testing.
The soils section has specialised equipment for use in standard physical and mechanical testing, as well as durability and chemical properties.
The soils testing services include:
- Moisture Content of Soils
- Pre-treatment of Soils samples (by compaction, by artificial weathering)
- Liquid Limit –Standard method (wet/dry sieved), One point method (wet sieved)
- Plastic Limit and Plasticity Index (wet sieved; dry sieved)
- Linear Shrinkage (wet sieved; dry sieved)
- Soils Particle Density
- Particle Size Distribution:
i. Coarse Grading by Sieving,
ii. Fine Grading by Decantation,
iii. Washed Grading,
iv. Hydrometer Analysis,
v. Sand Equivalent.
- Coefficient of Uniformity
- Maximum Dry Density:
I. Standard compaction as received or stabilised with cement/lime/other cementitious materials.
ii. Modified compaction as received or stabilised with cement/lime/other cementitious materials.
- Density in - situ : i.Sand Replacement.
- Electrical Resistivity
- Standard/Modified Density
- Maximum Dry Compressive Strength
- Unconfined Compressive Strength: Standard compaction as received or stabilised with cement/lime/other cementitious materials.ii.Modified compaction as received or stabilised with cement/lime/other cementitious materials.
- California Bearing Ratio (unsoaked, 4 days soaked,10 days soaked, lime treated material)
- Modified Texas Triaxial
- Wet/Dry Strength Variation
- Mis-Shapen Particles
- Fractured Faces
- Los Angeles Value
- Soils Unit Mass (loose)
- Resilient Modulus & Permanent Deformation
- Direct Shear Box Test
- Foreign Material Content
- Permeability of a Soil – Constant Head method or Falling Head Method
- Dynamic Cone Penetrometer Test Chemical Testing – Soils
- pH value of soil
- Sulphates in natural soils or groundwater
- Chlorides in soils
- Organic matter content of soils
- Cement content of stabilised soil
- Lime content of lime-stabilised materials
The Asphalt R&D section of Boral Materials Technical Services is provided with specialised equipment, including:
- Gyropac- a gyratory compactor designed to prepare cylindrical specimens for asphalt modulus and creep testing;
- Servopac- a more sophisticated version of the Gyropac compactor, used as an R&D tool and employed for assessing the workability and performance of different asphalt mixes;
- Matta – an ICP-developed apparatus used for determination of the stiffness/ resilient modulus of the asphalt samples, based on an indirect tensile test;
- BP Slab Compactor - used for preparation of the asphalt samples for fatigue and wheel-tracking testing and applied in the comparative assessment of different asphalt mixes for their fatigue and rut deformation;
- Wheel Tracking - a Coopers (UK) apparatus employed for assessing and comparing the rut deformation of different asphalt mixes, using asphalt slabs conditioned at 60 /65°C and subjected to a loaded rolling wheel.
- Beam Fatigue Apparatus- employed for determination of the fatigue properties of asphalt mixes, using asphalt slabs subjected to four point bending tests.
- Binder Recovery Apparatus - used to extract the binder from bituminous mixes in order to determine the binder properties.
- Brookfield Viscometer – used to determine the viscosity of bitumen's at the temperature up to 200 degrees Celsius.
Cement, cementitious, mortars and grouts, admixtures, curing compounds; Boral Materials Technical Services Facility provides a wide range of technical services – testing and development for cement based construction materials. The services provided cover materials ranging from cement, cementitious materials, mortar and grouts to concrete admixtures and curing compounds.
- Normal Consistency
- Setting Time
- Fineness Index by Air Permeability
- Residue on 45µm Sieve
- Compressive Strength
- Drying Shrinkage
- Sulphate Expansion
- Specific Gravity
- Autoclave Expansion
- Chemical and Bogue Composition
- Temperate rise during hydration
- Laser Particle Size Distribution
- Free Lime in Portland Cement and Clinker
- Water Soluble Chromate Content
- Fineness by 45µm Sieve
- Moisture Content
- Loss On Ignition
- Relative density
- Relative water Requirement
- Relative Strength (7 days accelerated and 28 days standard curing)
- Sulphuric Anhydride
- Available Alkali
- Chloride Content
- Magnesia content
- Insoluble residue
- Autoclave Expansion
- Laser Particle Size distribution
- Chemical Composition
- Pozzolanic Activity Index
- Apparent Particle Density of Fillers
- Voids in Dry Compacted Fillers
- Mortar Flow
- Drying Shrinkage
- Compressive Strength
- Flexural Strength
- Length Change Under Restraint
- Chemical Resistance of Mortar, Grouts
- Water Retention Efficiency of Membrane – Forming Curing Compound.
- Solids Content
- 150µm Residue
- Drying time
- Stability of Emulsion
- Infra-red Spectrum
- Potential Alkali Reactivity of Aggregate – Mortar Bar Method (ASTM method)
- Potential Alkali- Silica Reactivity – Accelerated Mortar Bar (VicRoad Method)
- Accelerated Mortar Bar test for AAR Assessment (RTA) Method
- Alkali Carbonate Reactivity (Canadian Method)
- Thermal Analysis (DTA-TGA)
- Cement Content in Mortar
- Mortar Analysis (Cement – Sand ratio)
- Sulphur Content in Metallurgical Slags, Crushed Rock, Pavement Materials.
- Acid Soluble Sulfate Content in Metallurgical Slag
The concrete testing laboratory is uniquely equipped to carry out a full range of trials and testing of various grades of concrete, including concrete trial mixes, testing of fresh/ plastic properties and hardened properties of concrete, as well as durability assessment and site non-destructive testing.
The concrete testing facility is equipped with a concrete trial mixing area of fully controlled temperature, able to simulate winter and summer conditions for concrete casting/ placing. Concrete trial mixes can be performed at controlled temperatures ranging from 5°C to 35°C.
The concrete laboratories also include temperature& humidity- controlled testing rooms, such as a large shrinkage room, curing, crushing/ testing rooms, curing chambers, accelerated curing tanks, laboratory autoclave, etc.
The laboratory is fully equipped with concrete mixers, vibrating tables, Kango hammer and other specialised compaction equipment, a wide range of moulds (for cylinders, prisms, slabs casting), airmeters for air content of plastic concrete, as well as specialised tools for assessing the plastic properties of the superflowable and self-compacting concrete. The testing equipment also includes mechanical testing machines and specialised testing jigs and rigs (for compression, flexural, indirect tensile strength testing, for modulus of elasticity/poisson ratio and creep testing, etc.)
The concrete testing facility is also provided with specialised testing and curing equipment for a wide range of durability assessment methods, e.g. electrical conductivity apparatus for rapid chloride permeability assessment, profile grinder for controlled depth profiling of for chloride penetration, specialised equipment and tools for alkali-aggregate reactivity assessment, controlled curing chambers and tanks, accelerated UV weathering machine, etc.
The laboratory is also equipped with a Chaplin abrasion tester used for determination of the abrasion and wearing resistance of concrete slabs or floors, in either laboratory or field conditions. Field testing equipment also includes Schmidt hammers for indirect/ empirical determination of relative strength and density of different concrete structures, as well as covermeter used for detection and determination of depth (coverage) of steel reinforcement.
The Concrete Section covers tests such as:
- Concrete Trial Mix, including Casting & Curing (controlled environmental conditions ranging from 5°C to 35°C)
- Concrete Coring and Testing
- Accelearated Curing and Testing (e.g. precast applications)
- Plastic properties for Self-Compacting and Superflowable Concrete- Flowability, Slump Retention
- Plastic Density
- Air Content by Pressure Meter
- Air Content by Roll-a-Meter
- Vebe Consistency
- Compacting Factor
- Compactibility Index
- Bleeding of Concrete
- Setting time of Fresh Concrete
- Adiabatic/ Semi-Adiabatic
- Temperature Rise (during hydration)
- Concrete Maturity
- Mass per Unit Volume (Density)
- Water Absorption
- Absorption and Apparent Volume of Permeable Voids (AVPV)
- Compressive Strength (for cast cylinders or secured concrete cores)
- Flexural Strength
- Indirect Tensile Strength
- Drying Shrinkage (to 90 days) or longer.
- Modulus of Rupture
- Modulus of Elasticity, Poisson Ratio
- Water Permeability
- Water Absorption
- Sorptivity and Depth of Penetration
- Chaplin Abrasion Test
- Thermal Expansion (on concrete cylinders, concrete cores and rock cores)
- Accelerated UV Weathering (on concrete, bricks, pavers, tiles, roof-tiles, etc.)
- Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity
- Covermeter Reinforcement Check
- Conpave and Rollcrete Trials and Testing
- Concrete Blocks Testing
- Rapid Determination of Chloride Permeability (ASTM Method)
- Electrical Indication of Concrete's Ability to Resist Chloride Ion Penetration (AASHTO Method)
- Chloride Diffusion Profile; Coefficient of Chloride Diffusion- Nord Test
- Alkali-Aggregate Reaction (AAR) on Concrete Prisms (RTA Method)
- Length Change of Concrete due to Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASTM Method)
- Chlorides and Sulphates in Concrete
- Admixtures in Concrete, Lignins
- Sugar Check
- Cement Content
- Hardened Concrete Analysis (cement- fly ash/ cementitious- sand- coarse aggregate)
- Acid Insoluble Residue & Chemical Analysis (full chemical analysis or individual components) – for more information see the section for chemical analysis.
Building Materials Testing
Boral Materials Technical Services also offers testing services for bricks, pavers and rooftiles, including tests such as:
Core Percentage and Material Thickness
Compressive Strength of Bricks
Breaking Load of Bricks
Water Absorption (24 hours)
Saturation Co-efficient (5 hours)
Initial Rate of Absorption
Moisture Content and Dry Density
Coefficient of Contraction
Coefficient of Expansion
Resistance to Salt Attack (Max. 40 cycles)
Impact Abrasion Resistance of Pavers- using Tumbler Abrasion Machine
Slip Resistance/Wet Surfaces (Pendulum), including different type of floor tiles.
Slip Resistance/Dry Surfaces (Tortus), including different type of floor tiles
- Roof Tiles
Roof Tiles Dimensions
Distortion of Roof Tiles
Batten Lugs and Squareness of Roof Tiles
Transverse Strength of Roof Tiles
Water Absorption (24 hours)
Boiling & Saturation Coefficient (5 hours)
Permeability Resistance to Salt Attack (bricks, pavers, rooftiles)
- Other Tests
- Accelerated UV Weathering (bricks, pavers, rooftiles)
Acid Soluble Salts in Burnt Clay and Shale Building Bricks
Boral recognises that research and development plays a vital part in our customers businesses and to ensure that Boral remains at the forefront we constantly, develop and refine our products to maintain the high standards for our internal and external customers.
The Chemical Testing System is NATA accredited, No.9968 and The Chemistry Laboratory regularly takes part in National and International Proficiency Programs to validate their test procedures, demonstrate Quality Assurance and compliance with NATA's strict accreditation requirements.
Importantly, there were no outliers for Boral's Materials Technical Services laboratory – providing that its standards are extremely high and fully aligned with the highest European and International Standards.
The Chemistry Section of Boral Materials Technical Services covers chemical testing and analysis for various divisions and for external customers. These include: chemical analysis and full chemical testing for Aggregates, Rocks, Soils, Cement and Supplementary Cementitious materials (fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag, silica fume), waters and wastewaters, dust monitoring, heavy metals, etc.
- Chemical – Full Chemical Analysis
- Sugar check and Light particles
- Lithium Meta Borate Fusion
- Chemical – Elemental/Oxide Analysis
- Chemical – SO3 -AS2350.2
- Chemical – Loss of ignition - AS2350.2
- Chemical – Insoluble Residue - AS2350
- Chemical – Chloride Ion Content - AS3583.13
- Chemical – Sulphuric Anhydride SO3 - AS3583.8
- Chemical – Available Alkalies (AS3583.12)
- Chemical – Magnesia Content - AS3583.9
- Chemical – Sulphur in Metallurgical Slags - AS1141.36
- Chemical – Sulphur in Cementitious - AS3583.7
- Chemical Free Lime – ASTM C114-05 Section 21
- Chemical – Miscellaneous Analyses (Cement/Cementitious, Lime)
- Chemical – Chloride Content (AS1012.20, ASTM C1218,B80-5xCl)
- Chemical – Chloride Content - Canadian Method
- Chemical – Sulfate Content (AS1012.20)
- Chemical – methylene Blue Absortion (ISSA No145)
- Chemical – Soluble Salts in Sand (RTA T264)
- Chemical – Sugar in Aggregates
- Chemical – Light Particles (AS1141.31)
- Chemical – Material Finer 2µm (AS1141.13 and RTA T270)
- Chemical – Shell Content of sand)
- Chemical – Total Silica in Aggregates/Sand
- Chemical – Acid Soluble Salts in Burnt Clays & Bricks
- Chemical – Sulphate Ion Content BS 1377 1990 Part3
- Chemical – Hydrometer particle size Dist. - AS12126.96.36.199
- Chemical – pH Value of Soil - AS12188.8.131.52 - RTA T123
- Chemical – Quant.Determin.of Sulphates - RTA T1011, RTA T219
- Chemical – Available Lime (AS4489.6.1)
Product Development Consultancy
A diverse range of research & product development projects are in place, targeting mainly:
- Development of aggregate and quarry products, related technologies and assessment methods
- Development of concrete and cement-based products, related technologies and assessment methods.
- New or improved products
- Diversified product range
- Cost-effective materials or new cost saving design solutions
- Optimal use of improved and alternative raw materials
- New enabling methods for better material characterisation and material design.
The department is also involved in technical and scientific consultancy, including durability assessment, advanced materials characterisation and material diagnosis, diagnostic assessment of field performance and durability aspects, e.g. half cell potential measurement and concrete maturity, material condition survey and failure investigations, design of complex or customised testing procedures, technical troubleshooting, etc.
Quality Systems Certification
The Boral Materials Technical Services Facility at Baulkham Hills-NSW is certified by BSI (Certificate No. FS 603749) and operates a Quality Management System that complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. This Facility is also accredited by NATA and complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 for Construction Materials Testing (NATA Accreditation No. 547) and Chemical Testing (NATA Accreditation No. 9968). In addition, the Boral Materials Technical Services Facility is registered with the RMS for Class L2 / Construction Industry Laboratories for road and bridge construction or related civil works and project work in excess of $10 million.
The Boral Materials Technical Services Facility offers an extensive range of construction materials and chemical testing procedures, as well as the design of in-house assessment methodologies. All testing is carried out under exacting guidelines and results are reported with the strictest confidence. This customer focused approach has earned Boral an excellent market leading reputation.