Concrete is the most widely-used construction material in the world.

Reliable, durable and versatile, it can endure for centuries and is sustainable when both the energy consumed during its manufacture and its inherent properties in-use are taken into account.

In our Concrete Laboratory, students and researchers design, mix and test concrete mixes. All stages of the concrete production process can be observed and recorded using a built-in camera system which streams live video to a screen in the lab.

Students use the lab on courses including BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, BEng (Hons) Construction Engineering Management, BSc (Hons) Building Surveying and BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics.

Equipment

  • Concrete and mortar mixers
  • Vibrating table, often used to reduce the trapped bubbles when making concrete moulds or castings
  • Curing tank, ovens, refrigerator and freezer for conditioning specimens
  • 2000 kN compression testing machine
  • Saw and polisher for specimen finishing prior to testing
Concrete Laboratory

Understand how to produces concrete, how it behaves, and how to improve its future performance in our Concrete Lab.

Hello everyone and welcome to the concrete lab. During your study, you will look into different construction materials such as steel, concrete and soils. 

Concrete as a construction material is widely used in industry. We're going to use it to construct different structures such as buildings, bridges and even subway structures, shallow foundations, deep foundations. So it's really important to understand the behaviour of this material. 

So in here, I've got a cube sample made up of concrete. During your course, you will learn basically how to make this concrete. We are going to use different ingredients with different proportions, such as course aggregates, fine aggregates, mortar and, of course, cement. 

Once you've got this concrete, we need to test it to see if we got the desired compressive strength or not. Concrete, as a construction element, is mainly subject to compressive loads. An example will be a column, a column located between two levels. So we're going to use this machine, which is called Cube Crusher. 

We're going to test this concrete in order to make sure the quality of this material, in order to make sure if we have the desired strength and it basically depends on the application of this concrete. Are you using this concrete for superstructures or for the substructures? As you can see, we see some cracks developing in here, specifically at the corners of the cube, which are the weakest part of the concrete. 

During your course, you can get involved in some research purposes. You can look into a recycled concrete, look into the replacement materials such as cement replacements. You know, cement is expensive and also it's not good for our environment. Also, you can look into adding some fibres in order to address the sustainability of different fibres, such as steel fibres, tile chips like this type of plastic fibres and glass. 

Here is an introduction to our concrete lab and I really hope to see you all soon. 

Where to find us

Concrete Laboratory

Burnaby Building 0.01 - 0.03
Burnaby Road
Portsmouth
PO1 3QL