Materials Testing & Engineering Services

Materials Testing & Engineering Services

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As an independent and competent source for the analysis and quality assurance of materials and methods, Western Technologies assures the client of unbiased and comprehensive evaluations. The company's materials engineering creativity has developed economical solutions to many critical issues facing design, materials supply, and construction industries.

Materials testing and engineering services are performed in the field and in Western Technologies' modern laboratories manned by experienced engineers and technicians. Equipment and procedures are continually updated to maintain pace with the increasingly complex and varied demands of the public and private sectors. Internal quality control measures are utilized to assure competent performance and accurate measurement. Active participation is maintained in IAS, AASHTO and DOT accreditation and proficiency programs.

Concrete Testing & Analysis

Western Technologies understands the importance of quality control testing in the planning phase and during construction. Our combination of ACI certified technicians, accredited laboratories, and professional engineers provide expertise in all phases of concrete construction. Concrete mix designs, comprehensive field and laboratory testing, and forensic engineering are just some of the services provided by Western Technologies.

Mix Designs
Mix designs typically include aggregate, cement, water, admixtures, and other additives proportioned and mixed based upon the desired ratios and intended use. There are three stages in concrete's life that require consideration when developing the mix – the freshly mixed concrete, the newly completed concrete, and everything after that for the rest of its life. The requirements for good performance in each of these three stages can actually conflict. Western Technologies, through our CCRL accredited laboratories and concrete engineering expertise provides the right design with the right proportions and properties to meet your design needs. An essential area of analysis that we provide is the complete ASTM C33 series including evaluation of potential reactivity in aggregates used in portland cement products.

Preconstruction Review
Western Technologies can help your project with our in-depth concrete expertise for preconstruction review of proposed concreting operations, techniques, or procedures. This may include review of construction plans and specifications, mix designs, testing procedures, batching and placement techniques, curing procedures, and any other special concreting techniques unique to your project.

Batch Plant Observation /Certification
Periodically there is a need for batch plant and truck observation to assess equipment and materials during concrete operations for a specific project or for general production by a supplier. This assessment may include observing measuring devices; the functioning of mechanical parts; calibration of scales; and integrity of mixing blades. Batching sequences, materials handling, aggregate and admixture conformance and other functions of batching and mixing fresh concrete are also assessed. Western Technologies' engineers are well versed in procedures approved by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA).

Fresh Concrete Field Testing
Western Technologies' fresh concrete field testing may include determination of the concrete's physical properties (e.g., slump, air content, mix and air temperature, unit weight and visual appearance) and casting of test specimens (cylinders or beams). All testing is performed by our ACI certified field technicians.

Evaluation of Hardened Concrete
Laboratory testing of hardened concrete is performed to measure compression strengths of normal and lightweight concrete as well as to allow a visual observation of the failure mode of the compression-tested sample(s). Western Technologies' tests are usually completed on 6 by 12-inch or 4 by 8-inch compression cylinders or cored samples obtained from hardened concrete. Tests can also be performed on beams for flexural strength determination.

Asphalt Testing & Analysis

Western Technologies' asphalt testing laboratories house cutting edge testing equipment and are staffed with experienced NICET, WAQTC and DOT certified technicians. Our know-how and AASHTO accredited laboratories enables us to provide design, quality assurance/quality control and research testing services including:

  • Marshall mix design, analysis and testing.
  • Superpave gyratory testing, analysis and design.
  • Pavement profilograph.
  • Moisture sensitivity.
  • Asphalt-rubber binder design, analysis and testing.
  • Pavement condition evaluation.
  • Compaction control during pavement construction.
  • Hot mix plant inspection and calibration.
  • Quality assurance and quality control testing.
  • Aggregate testing and evaluation.
  • Diamond core drilling.
  • Cold mix in-place recycled design and materials testing and evaluation.
  • Recovery of asphalt from extraction solution by Abson Method.
  • Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) hot mix designs.

Western Technologies can design and test pavement preservation materials including bonded wearing courses, open grade asphalt concrete, chip seals, slurry seals, and cape seals. Western Technologies is also capable of testing asphalt and polymer modified emulsions for specification compliance.

Mix Designs
Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) material is composed of asphalt binder, sand and gravel that is heated and applied to the road surface. Asphalt pavements can last many years because it is possible to maintain them with overlays, with the deeper portion of the pavement structure remaining sound. When properly designed for traffic conditions, asphalt pavement provides a permanent pavement structure.

Western Technologies can provide superior designs for new asphalt pavement, recycled mixes, and/or the upgrading of existing pavements which are under designed for future traffic requirements or have aged to the point of needing an overlay or reconstruction.

Engineering Consultation
Western Technologies engineers and technicians have the expertise and experience to determine the right type of asphalt mix for a particular construction application; also evaluate pavement failures, repairs and upgrades of residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and airport pavements. When you need the right answers contact Western Technologies.

Laboratory Testing
Western Technologies' laboratory testing is performed to determine the quality of mix constituents and to assess the properties of asphalt mixes. Laboratory work may include testing of asphalt mixes to evaluate if specified material properties are being met; lot testing during construction for unit weights and thickness of cored samples, Marshall, Rice and Superpave testing, mix extractions for aggregate gradation and asphalt cement determination (solvent extraction or ignition furnace methods).

Whatever your requirements, our AASHTO and DOT accredited laboratories can provide the right results in a timely manner.

Construction Monitoring
We provide skilled and certified personnel and equipment to evaluate the production and placement of asphalt paving. This may include a mobile laboratory, or we may simply provide personnel to inspect and assist with placement activities. This service fulfills a valuable role in the QC or QA process and Western Technologies has the knowledge and experience to contribute to successful project completion.

Masonry, Grout & Natural Stone

At Western Technologies we have highly trained field and laboratory technicians to perform masonry testing and inspections for construction projects. Since 1955, we have been an industry leader in performing quality assurance inspections and masonry testing in the field and our state-of-the-art laboratories. Laboratory compressive strength testing of mortar and grout specimens prepared at the site will ensure that your masonry work meets both your project specifications and applicable local building codes.

Many different types of stone, brick, block and masonry units are used depending upon the architect's preferences. Inspections of these items are based on the project drawings and attributes such as reinforcement and the types of mortar and grout used.

  • Field inspections of masonry units.
  • Sampling of mortar and grout materials.
  • Compressive strength testing of mortar and grout.
  • Masonry reinforcement inspections.
  • Compressive strength of masonry prisms (composite samples of masonry, cast in field by contractor).
  • Saw cutting of masonry prisms from existing structures to test compressive strength.
  • Laboratory testing of brick.
  • Laboratory testing of masonry units.
  • Design mixes for mortar and grout.
  • Stone and brick veneer testing.

Soils & Aggregates Testing

As the basic structural underpinning for almost all construction, soil materials play an important role in the ultimate success of a project.

Western Technologies performs in-house and on-site testing of soil materials used for subgrade, structural fills, roadways, embankments, and earthen dams, providing valuable information that assists design engineers in achieving sound engineering practices.

Our engineers and technicians sample, analyze, and classify soil materials, utilizing the most current state, federal, and industry standards and specifications. Our highly skilled geotechnical engineers interpret these results and make recommendations and/or conclusions regarding material compliance in accordance with the project requirements.

Aggregate testing is closely related to both soils and concrete test methods and is also used in concrete block. Our materials laboratories are capable of providing extensive testing for both fine and coarse aggregate including sand, gravel, crushed stone, recycled concrete, clay, shale and slag to name a few.

Western Technologies maintains a commitment to provide our clients with a technically superior testing service using state-of-the-art AASHTO accredited laboratories and highly qualified staff who deliver prompt and attentive service. Our friendly, personal approach to service ensures we build close working relationships with our clients, ultimately allowing us to better understand their testing needs.

Soil-Cement Mix Design
Soil-cement is a compacted mixture of soil, portland cement, and water. As the cement reacts, or hydrates, the mixture gains strength and improves the engineering properties of the soil. The major variables that control the properties and characteristics of soil-cement mixtures are the type of soil or aggregate material, the proportion of cement in the mix, the moisture conditions, and the degree of compaction. It is possible, simply by varying the cement content, to produce soil-cement that ranges from a basic modification of the compacted soil (or cement-modified soil) to fully hardened soil-cement that is strong, durable, and frost-resistant.

Prior to construction, Western Technologies' laboratory tests are conducted on a representative sample of the soil material to determine the appropriate cement content, maximum dry density, and optimum moisture content required for construction.

Soil-Lime Mix Design
Using lime is an effective way to modify soils – improving both workability and load-bearing characteristics while increasing stability and impermeability. The application of lime can significantly improve engineering properties. There are essentially two forms of improvement – modification and stabilization. The use of lime can modify almost all fine-grained soils to some extent, but the most dramatic improvement occurs in clay soils of moderate to high plasticity. The results of modification are plasticity and swelling reduction, reduction in moisture-holding capacity, and improved stability.

Stabilization differs from modification in that a significant level of long term strength gain is developed through a pozzolanic reaction. The key to pozzolanic reactivity and stabilization is a reactive soil and a good mix design protocol. The results of stabilization can be substantial increases in resilient modulus values, substantial improvements in shear strength, continued strength gain with time, and long term durability.

Western Technologies maintains local soils laboratories and a highly experienced staff of geotechnical engineers, materials experts, and soil technicians. Our leadership in the application and design of soil-lime mixes in the southwest is a direct result of our local knowledge, experience, quality service and responsiveness.

Crumb Rubber & Crack Sealants

Crumb rubber, also referred to as ground rubber, is a wire-free fine rubber particle made by size reduction from scrap tires. Crumb rubber is made by a combination or application of several size reduction technologies. These technologies may be divided into two major processing categories, mechanical grinding and cryogenic reduction. Crumb rubber modified asphalt has been known to improve the rheological properties at low and high temperatures and provide a pavement life up to three times longer than conventional asphalt. Western Technologies was a pioneer in the early research and development of crumb rubber modified asphalt and continues to be one of the leaders in this developing technology.

Sealing cracks in asphalt concrete pavements is a commonly used maintenance procedure that can reduce pavement deterioration by restricting surface water penetration into underlying base and subbase layers. This helps maintain pavement structural capacity and limits future pavement degradation. Western Technologies is one of only several independent laboratories in the United States capable of testing and evaluating crack sealants.

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