SANRAL launches new materials testing facility in Port Elizabeth
Lindokuhle Mahlangeni and Sandiswa Jekwa both candidates at SANRAL’S Centre of Excellence (wearing white coats) with senior laboratory manager Jeremy Dick (left) and Sean Strydom SANRAL’S material lab technician with a water sorptivity device which tests the durability of concrete structures in harsh and aggressive environments.
SANRAL has announced the opening of a new engineering materials laboratory that will test road materials from across the Eastern Cape in Port Elizabeth.
The facility will also double up as a skills development centre where graduate engineers in SANRAL’s experiential learning programme can get invaluable exposure to and even focus on materials engineering.
The lab enables SANRAL to test the properties of construction materials used in road maintenance as well as in developing and upgrading of the national roads.
It will also give SANRAL a second-tier quality assessment tool through comparative or correlation tests done independently from, but concurrently with, tests of site material labs.
The new engineering materials laboratory consists of testing facilities to determine the properties of soils and gravel, asphalt, concrete and bituminous binders. On a more advanced level, the lab has been equipped with a Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR) to understand the viscoelastic behaviour of binders used is seal and asphalt surfacing, at medium to high temperatures.
The new road material testing facility in PE also plays a critical role in developing South Africa’s next generation of engineering professionals. It will also serve as a training facility where SANRAL’s Centre of Excellence students can build their understanding of materials engineering through practical experience.
The centre currently houses 26 engineering graduates from across South Africa on a three-year in-house experiential training programme, which will assist them to be able to register as professional engineers.