Aggregate and Geotechnical

The MTTI aggregate and geotechnical research area conducts research and testing in soils, aggregates and rock. The MTTI test facilities have traditional research and testing capabilities in soil testing such as permeability, consolidation and triaxial strength testing as well as more advanced equipment for resilient modulus research, ballast testing and high pressure triaxial testing of rock.

Aggregates and Rock

Our researchers have the capabilitiy to conduct direct shear, point load, and triaxial testing of rock up to a confining pressure of 40,000 psi.

A high-capacity sieve system and a facility for handling bulk material are available for preparing samples for large scale projects.

Michigan Tech engineers have developed a large-diameter resonant column device for measurements on bulky aggregate such as railroad ballast.


Soil characterization equipment is available for determining permeability and bulk specific gravity. Automated helium bulk-flow pycnometry is employed to make highly precise measurements.

Soil dynamics research is conducted using a five kip, servo-hydraulic controlled, resilient modulus testing under various stress paths with separate controls for confinement and axial stress.

A unique system was designed and built by our staff to allow dynamic displacement measurements to be made within our triaxial cell. The system is capable of performing vertical and diametric measurements down to one micron in accuracy.


The aggregates and geotechnical materials research team consists of seven faculty, three professional full-time staff members, and graduate and undergraduate research assistants.

Facility Equipment

MTS 312.21 Load Frame with TestStar II Controller used for complete resilient modulus testing

1.1 kip capacity

Micromeritics Instrument AccuPyc 1330 133/34012/00 Pycnometer Gas Displacement Density Analyzer

Micromeritics Instrument GeoPyc 1360 136/00000/00 Pycnometer Envelope Density Analyzer

Bemek Rock Tester Portable Field Unit

12.4 kip capacity

Humbolt Manufacturing HM-3000.3F Multi-purpose MasterLoader Load Frame

Humbolt Manufacturing FlexPanel I and FlexPanel II Triaxial/Permeability Control Panels

Wykeham Farrance 24001 Oedometer Consolidation Systems

Brainard-Kilman S-450 Terraload Consolidation Devices

Brainard-Kilman S-500 Triaxial/Permeability Panel