Labratory Testing & Materials Evaluation

DPA's laboratory facility is an essential component in the development of advanced coatings, insulation technology, waterproofing systems, corrosion assessment, concrete diagnostics, forensic engineering, investigations and failure analysis.The laboratory serves as a support function to DPA's specialist divisions as well as an independent division for analytical testwork and materials evaluation. Laboratory testing includes the analysis of concrete, analysis of failure, materials evaluation and the development and evaluation of new technology and or products.

Laboratory Testing - Concrete

Electron Microscope Image of Concrete Core Sample

Core samples are analysed to determine the concrete matrix morphology and chemistry using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X ray spectroscopy. This analysis provides an indication of the distribution of the aggregate in the concrete matrix and the presence of reactive siliceous aggregates and other contaminants.

Carbonation Testing

Carbonation Testing is carried out to determine the reduction in alkalinity of concrete samples with a prescribed indicator solution.

Carbonation Testing of Core Samples

Wet Chemical analysis of concrete samples includes the determination of the aggregate to cement ratio (using either atomic absorption spectroscopy or inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy) and the determination of the type of cement used e.g. blast furnace slag or ordinary Portland cement. Analysis of core samples includes testing for the presence and level of contaminants within the concrete e.g. chlorides, sulphates, sulphites, nitrates etc.

Forensic Engineering

Laboratory tests are performed to assist in determining the cause of failure i.e. product failure, substrate failure, poor workmanship / preparation etc.

Materials evaluation - Coatings, Insulation Materials, Waterproofing Membranes and Specialist Repair Materials.

Adhesion Testing of Coating to Substrate

Typical application related tests performed include holiday testing, Weber Reilly, dry & wet film thickness and cross hatch adhesion tests to determine the suitability of the coating for each individual substrate (concrete, ferrous or non ferrous metal etc). Substrates are evaluated for surface suitability, type of corrosion, and contamination.

DPA Study Existing and New Products, Chemical Formulations and Advanced Technological Testing

DPA's staff regularly spend time with material suppliers, both locally and internationally, there they are able to study existing and new products, chemical formulations and advanced technological testing.

Labratory Testing for Contaminants

Coatings and specialized coating systems are extensively evaluated and the compatibility of components and the suitability of the system for each specific application are determined. Typical properties evaluated include adhesion, scrubability, sheen / gloss, hiding power, drying time, rheology, flexibility, tensile strength, permeability and QUV accelerated weathering tests in accordance with standard test methods. Adhesion testing of coating to substrate.

New Technology

Laboratory services include:

  • the comparison of products from a wide range of suppliers within a generic family in order to recommend a system which offers superior performance,
  • an evaluation of the system for compliance with performance specifications,
  • the formulation of new specifications to comply with client / project requirements and the development and evaluation of new technology for specialized applications.

Durability Index Testing

Oxygen Permeability, Sorptivity and Chloride Conductivity Index tests to new or old concrete structures.