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Engineering Geology Laboratory

Analyses of geological materials provide knowledge of conditions that affect the time, cost and stability of construction in rock and soil.

Contact person


In the laboratory, we test the physical properties of geological materials, including drillability testing with determination of Drilling Rate Index ™ (DRI ™), Bit Wear Index ™ (BWI ™), Cutter Life Index ™ (CLI ™) (TBM cutter life) and Soil Abrasion Test ™ (SAT ™).

The TM-registered indices (TradeMark) developed by SINTEF and NTNU constitute indirect measures of the geological material's drillability and represent important factors for estimating the time and cost of building tunnels and underground spaces.

The laboratory is today an internationally recognized reference facility for the mentioned tests. Results from more than 3500 catalogued samples constitute the basis for SINTEF/NTNU's unique database.

Swelling, durability and blastability

The laboratory also performs various tests to determine swelling and durability properties of clays and rocks. These include specialized methods developed by SINTEF/NTNU for the determination of free swelling and swelling pressure at constant volume. It also performs test to determine the blastability of rock types.

Standardized analyses

The analyses performed at the laboratory are carried out in accordance with SINTEF/NTNU's own standards as well as ISRM's suggested test methods. Some of the standardised analyses that can be carried out in our laboratory are:

  • Drilling Rate Index™ (DRI™), Bit Wear Index™ (BWI™) and Cutter Life Index™ (CLI™)
  • Sievers J-Value miniature drill test (SJ)
  • Brittleness Value (S20)
  • Abrasion Value (AV) and Abrasion Value Cutter Steel (AVS)
  • Soil Abrasion Test (SAT™) 
  • Cerchar Abrasivity Index (CAI)
  • LCPC
  • DTA (Differential thermal analysis for determination of quartz and sulphide content
  • Petrographic analysis
  • Slake Durability Index
  • Swelling pressure at constant volume in the odometer
  • Free swelling

International assignments

The various test methods developed at SINTEF/NTNU have achieved international recognition, which has led to the laboratory having a large number of international clients. Several large underground projects in the US, Canada, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and the UK have included testing at our laboratory in order to obtain optimal estimates of expected time and cost. The laboratory has also gained a reputation for providing informative test reports of a high quality within the agreed deadlines.

Determining DRI, BWI and CLI

Contact information

Visits and delivery of samples:

Rock and Soil Mechanics laboratories
S.P. Andersens vei 13 A 
7031 Trondheim 

Contact: Joakim Eggen