The Geolabs are equipped for various geographical sciences services. The field equipment services complement the services offered by the laboratories. Also, some instruments housed in the Geolabs can be used for field work. The laboratories serve undergraduate teaching and provide research facilities for MPhil, DPhil students and post-doctoral researchers.

Physical and Textural Analysis

In the Geolabs, physical and textural analyses can be performed on stone, mortar or soil samples.

  • Some mechanical properties can be obtained:
    • On our Matest Unitronic Load Frame 50kN to measure compressive, flexural and tensile strengths.
  • Non-destructive tests can be done using the:
    • Grindosonic MK5 'Industrial' , for measurement of elastic properties of rocks and mortars.
    • Proceq Equotip 3 and Proceq Equotip Piccolo Bambino 2 to test hardness.
    • Silver Schmidt Hammer for measurement of hardness/ compressive strength.
    • the Proceq PunditLab for testing of ultrasonic pulse velocity.
  • For soils' traditional particle size analysis, the Geolabs house a variety of sieves ranging from large diameter gravel sieves up to 63 µm and a sieve shaker. Particle size in the Geolabs is now mainly analysed by Diffraction using the Malvern Laser Particle Sizer Mastersizer 2000 . We are equipped with a wet unit for soils and sediments and a dry unit for dust with a high concentration in soluble particles.
  • The loss on Ignition technique can be used to measure water, organic and calcium carbonate contents in soils and sediments with our muffle furnace Carbolite .
  • The colour analysed using a spectrophotometer CM-700d Konica Minolta .
  • With analytical balances Sartorius M3P and Sartorius BL 120S, high accuracy and precision of any changes of mass are determined.
  • The Geolabs house an optical scanning Mephisto EOS 3D Scanner to determine changes in surface roughness overtime. This technique is used to quantify morphological changes of stone materials.

Environmental Chemical Analysis

Environmental chemical analyses are performed in the Geolabs using the following instruments and techniques:

  • Ion Chromatography with a Dionex ICS-5000 Chromatograph equipped with an AS-AP autosampler, this technique analyses water mineral composition, nutrients in soils and soluble minerals in stone building materials. Two different columns allow us to determine Chloride, Nitrate, Nitrite, Sulfate, Bromide, Fluoride and Phosphate, Potassium, Sodium, Calcium and Magnesium.
  • PerkinElmer NexION 2000 ICP Mass Spectrometer , ICP-MS stands for inductively coupled plasma-mass-spectrometry and is a technique to determine the concentrations of trace elements in solutions. By introducing nebulised liquid sample to a highly energised plasma, this spectrometric method is capable of detecting metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as parts per billion. ICP-MS is widely used to analyse water as well as dissolved geochemical, environmental and biological samples.
  • DR 3900 Hach spectrophotometer , for the determination of the chemical composition of waters mainly.
  • Using the same spectrophotometric technique, with the BioTek Epoch Microplate Reader , we can quantify a wide range of biological and chemical materials in plants, soils, sediments or rocks as well as waters.
  • pH, Electrical conductivity EC, Oxidation Reduction Potential ORP, total dissolved solid TDS, Dissolved Oxygen DO are analysed in waters or aqueous media using various Hanna Instruments meters and high sensitivity electrodes.

Microscopy and Imaging

The Geolabs are equipped with various microscopy and imaging instruments.

  • Several polarizing microscopes MEIJI ML900 for rocks mineralogical analysis.
  • 2 Leica stereomicroscopes, the MZ10F equipped with fluorescence and the S8 APO are used for observations and analysis of any material sample.
  • A brightfield upright Olympus BX43 microscope with LED light source equipped with Olympus SC50 camera for anatomical analysis of plant tissues as well as stone structures.
  • Different microscope cameras are interchangeably attached to the microscopes and used with tablets and/or different softwares for image analysis.

Environmental cabinets

The Geolabs house 3 Environmental cabinets for environmental simulations of rock breakdown, landscape evolution, weathering of historical monuments and the effects of bio-soiling on rocks' weathering:

  • Sanyo-FE 300H/MP/R20
  • Sanyo-MLR-351
  • Binder KBF115

Moisture Analysis

Moisture is an important parameter to examine and analyse in the Geolabs research projects. We use different instruments to give a scientific estimation of the water contents in various stone or mortar building materials. Moisture meter instruments are also used for field work. The Geolabs possess various moisture meters:

  • Electric Resistivity meters Protimeter and Resipod
  • Dielectric Constant Capacitance meters FMW, CEM, T660 and Protimeter
  • Dielectric microwave meters Moist 350B, T610
  • Electric Resistivity Tomography (ERT) - GeoTom by Geolog2000.

Samples Preparation Instruments

  • Microwave to digest soil, rocks and plants: Mars 6 CEM
  • Rock cutting saws:
    • Masonry Saw-Clipper CM 501 Major
    • Tile Saw-Jolly Max
    • Rock saw - Delta Buehler