The Chemistry Laboratory conducts fundamental studies of highway materials to understand both failure mechanisms and superior performance. New standard test methods are developed to improve and facilitate the chemical analysis of highway materials and to characterize and quantify new or alternative sustainable materials. The Laboratory also assists with forensic investigations of premature failures of pavements and other highway structures.
Chemical characterization entails both sample preparation and analysis. Traditional wet chemistry techniques are used to modify paving and concrete materials and to prepare and condition samples for further testing and analysis. The chemical results are often tied to physical test results from the Binder, Bituminous
Mixtures, or Concrete Laboratories, to compile a chemico-physico perspective and evaluate its effect on performance. The Chemistry Laboratory complex includes a traditional chemistry laboratory for wet chemistry and sample preparation, and two laboratories dedicated to instrumentation.