Concrete and Materials Laboratory

Concrete and Materials Laboratory


The concrete laboratory is located in the basement of the McDonnell Douglas Hall Engineering Building and forms a key component of the concrete research performed at Saint Louis University. The laboratory allows faculty, staff, and students to test and evaluate various fresh and hardened concrete properties that influence the performance of concrete members. 



Compression Testing Machine

A 500,000 pound compression machine equipped with a Test Pilot Digital indicator is available in the materials lab. The machine includes a channel system that is used to capture load data and additional channels to capture data from strain gages, compressometers, and extensometers. The Test Pilot is sophisticated easy to use with features that include selectable choices for language, load, rate unit, stress units, specimen type, specimen number, peak load, peak stress, stores up to 500 tests in memory and downloads x-y plots or raw data to your PC. Password protected 5-point calibration insures accuracy of ±0.05% from as little as 1% of the load all the way up to full capacity. 

Milwaukee Core Drill

Core drill and rig equipped with diamond-dressed bits capable of coring reinforced concrete members. This 20 amp model features 4.8 peak horsepower and can handle core bits from 2 in. to 10 in. in diameter.  Additional features include:

  • Two speeds - 450 and 900 rpm
  • Clutch protection protects gears and motor
  • 20 amp motor
  • Built-in water swivel

Rapid Chloride Permeability Test

The system is used to evaluate the resistance of concrete to the ingress of chloride ions by indirectly measuring the degree to which chloride ions penetrate into saturated concrete  in accordance with AASHTO T277 or ASTM C1202.  The system can also be used to measure the penetration depth of chloride ions, after an electric potential has been applied to the specimen in accordance with NORDTEST BUILD 492 (Chloride Migration Coefficient from Non-Steady State Migration Experiments) to determine the “Chloride Migration Coefficient,” which can be used to estimate the chloride diffusion coefficient for service-life calculations. 

Cement Autoclave

The Cement Autoclave provides an accelerated means of estimating delayed expansion of Portland cement caused by the slow hydration of CaO, MgO, or both in accordance with ASTM C151.  In this operation, changes in length of test bars are measured after being exposed to controlled steam pressure and temperature for a prescribed period of time.  The Boekel cement autoclave is ASME certified and is the leader in expansion testing equipment.   


Used to perform freeze-thaw tests, dynamic testing of concrete specimens, assess uniformity of in-place concrete and evaluate expansion, bending and twisting of wood, metal, plastic, ceramic and other materials by measuring changes in resonant frequency. The unit consists of a 30W portable driver, pick-up circuit with a cartridge mounted on an adjustable metal stand and control unit with 3” (76.2 mm) oscilloscope, voltmeter counter and amplifier.  Amplitude and frequency of vibrations can be controlled in the range of 0 to 25 watts, 400 to 12,000 cps, and frequency displayed to ±2%. 

Supplementary equipment

The lab also has the following equipment that mainly supports the preparation and testing of concrete samples.  All the equipment matching the up-to-date ASTM standards.

  • Water Pump
  • Water Tank for concrete curing.
  • Two cement mixers (3 ft3 each)
  • Diamond concrete saw
  • Vibrating table
  • Compressometer
  • Aggregate splitter
  • Gas Generator
  • Vacuum pump
  • Penetrometer
  • Temperature recorder
  • Self-consolidating concrete segregation test
  • Pressure air meter
  • Aggregate sieves

Additional Civil Engineering Resources