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
- Chemical Analysis
- Microscopy and Imaging
- Environmental Cabinets
- Moisture Analysis
- Samples' Preparation
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.
- Grindosonic MK5 'Industrial' , for measurement of elastic properties of rocks and mortars.
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 APOare 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.
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
- Binder KBF115
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
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
- Masonry Saw-Clipper CM 501 Major