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Soils, Rockfills and Mixtures Laboratory

The Soils, Rockfills and Mixtures Laboratory is part of the Geotechnics Department of LNEC.

Initially, this laboratory studied Soil Mechanics, as well as foundations of structures, roads and airfields, as part of the newly created 2nd Service LEC. Afterwards, in 1961, after the establishment of the Geotechnics Department of LNEC, it was integrated in its foundations division.

Field of expertise

UGeoMat develops activity within the field of the physical-mechanical characterization of soil, rockfill and soilrockfill mixtures, either in laboratory or in situ.
It also develops activities related with the quality control of the construction of embankments, dams, roads and other geotechnical structures. For the purpose, a set of field tests are also carried out.


UGeoMat performs, among others, the following laboratory tests:

  • grain size analysis by sieving and sedimentation;
  • atterberg limits;
  • normal and modified Proctor Compaction;
  • particle density;
  • permeability at constant and variable hydraulic loads;
  • direct shear;
  • simple shear, triaxial and torsional (cyclic and monotonic) shear in soils;
  • edometric consolidation;
  • triaxial compression of rockfill and soil-rockfill mixtures in large cells;
  • unidimensional deformation of rockfill and soil-rockfill mixtures;
  • crushing of rock samples;
  • point load (plt);
  • Slake Durability (SDT);
  • fragmentability of rock specimens;
  • degradability of rock specimens.

UGeoMat also performs the following tests in the field:

  • determination of the unit weight by the sand cone method, either macro or mini macro;
  • rain size analysis rockfill and soilrockfill mixtures;
  • permeability ;
  • plate load test;
  • intact and disturbed sampling for laboratory testing.

Other services

In addition to the characterization studies, which are generally associated with research services under contract, UGeoMat also develops activities in different areas such as:

  • research studies for the characterization of materials and building systems;
  • expert advisory and design support to new constructions, as well as to maintenance and rehabilitation works;
  • installation of observation equipment for performance monitoring of embankments, including dams;
  • routine visual inspections, acquisition and processing of data, analysis of results and assessment of the overall behaviour of embankment dams.