Opus’ roading lab has the tools and skills to test bitumen to ensure it meets necessary standards

Throughout history, it’s been used as a sealant, adhesive, building mortar, incense and decorative application on pots, building or human skin. But in modern times bitumen is most recognisable as a major component in our roads.

Bitumen is a naturally occurring organic by-product of decomposing organic material which is separated from other components in crude oil by distillation. It needs to be tested extensively to ensure it meets the necessary standards before it is used in essential infrastructure.

That’s where the Roading Laboratory at Opus Research comes in – it has a long history of providing standard and specialist testing for the roading industry. It’s one of the few laboratories certified by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) to test asphalt cores using the Parafilm method, a requirement of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s P9 specifications.

Experienced staff

Staff members Gary Bentley and Bill Graham have extensive knowledge of both testing in the field and in the lab, while Phil Herrington brings specialist chemical knowledge and testing. All of which has also helped the Roading Lab develop a strong track record of new product development.

Recent work with Transfield Services on the Wainuiomata Hill Road is an example of this skill and knowledge in action. The project included base course testing using a Benkelman Beam and a Nuclear Density Meter, along with various lab tests. During compaction of the asphalt, nuclear density testing was used to ensure adequate compaction had been obtained. Samples of the asphalt were also tested in the laboratory.

This was followed with texture measurements through the use of sand circles and British pendulum testing.

It’s the Roading Lab’s ability to use best practice in order to ensure quick and efficient turnaround, as well as the ability to work in conjunction with our Concrete and Soil Laboratories, that can add value to any contract.