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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / February 1996

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-SA-96-013
Date: February 1996

Mobile Concrete Testing Laboratory Brings New Technologies to States

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently outfitted a new mobile laboratory for testing of portland cement concrete. The 18-wheel tractor-trailer replaces the mobile laboratory that had been used for Demonstration Project 75 (Field Management of Concrete Mixes). The old mobile laboratory racked up more than 100,000 miles traveling across the United States to demonstrate new equipment and test procedures to State and local highway agencies. The new mobile lab will be used to introduce equipment at conferences and workshops, conduct field evaluations on new and innovative equipment, and provide technical assistance to State and local highway agencies.

"The mobile laboratory allows us to actually demonstrate new equipment that States may not be aware of, such as the hydraulic fracture device," says Gary Crawford of FHWA's Office of Technology Applications. "The lab is completely self-sufficient, so we can bring the lab to a job site and evaluate innovative testing equipment and techniques, as well as demonstrate it to highway agencies."

Onboard the mobile laboratory are several pieces of test equipment developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). The concrete durability test equipment, which can be borrowed by State highway agencies, includes the hydraulic fracture device, the impact-echo device, the surface air-flow permeameter, and maturity meters. The laboratory equipment also includes an upgraded compression machine with a 272,000-kg (600,000-pound) capacity, which can be used for high-performance concrete. An air void analyzer is also being evaluated, which gives comparable results for measuring air content and the spacing factor in concrete in 15 minutes. This equipment is also discussed in FHWA's showcase workshop on concrete durability.

The mobile laboratory will also support demonstration projects such as the concrete durability workshop, accelerated rigid paving techniques, European concrete initiatives, performance related specifications, and high-performance concrete for structures and rigid pavements.

"The purpose of the mobile lab is strictly educational," says Crawford. "We want to give people an opportunity to experience new technology at a level of detail not available elsewhere."

For more information about the new concrete mobile laboratory, or to request a demonstration (at seminars or conferences, or for an extended field demonstration), contact Gary Crawford at FHWA at 202-366-1286 (fax: 202-366-7909).

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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