Research

CTLGroup traces its history back nearly 100 years when it started out as the Research and Development arm of the Portland Cement Association. The firm has helped advance the science and technology for concrete and cement, polymers, composites and other construction materials.

Our work with materials product manufacturers, buildings systems providers, engineers, contractors and others has resulted in leading-edge technologies. These technologies and their implementation have enabled construction development that marked industry milestones. For example, our expertise in high-strength concrete was vital to the successful building of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai).

This commitment to building knowledge is supported by our world-class laboratory facilities which feature over 60,000 square feet of space a professional staff consisting of recognized thought leaders.

Significant CTLGroup Research Projects

NIST Standard Reference Materials Program National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Standard Reference Materials Program
For 40 years, CTLGroup has been involved with the selection, packaging and certifying of Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, formerly the U.S. National Bureau of Standards). CTLGroup has continuously supported NIST in their search and certification of standard reference materials starting in the early 1970’s. Five series of cement, including the 1000, 600, 1800, 1800a and currently in-process 1800b, have been tested for chemical composition and homogeneity as well as package integrity. The cement reference materials are some of the best-selling materials available from NIST. 

Slab Track Testing Slab Track Technology
CTLGroup has joined expert representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration, consultant engineering firms, railroads and Amtrak to participate in the Cooperative Concrete Slab Track Research and Demonstration Program for Shared Freight and High-Speed Passenger Service for the development of slab track in the U.S., which began in December 2000. The goal is to design, construct and test two concrete slab track systems that will maintain strict vertical and horizontal tolerances required by high-speed rail trains while tolerating the heavy axle loads imposed by heavy freight traffic. The two systems that are being researched are the direct fixation slab track (DFST) and the individual dual block track (IDBT), commonly referred to as “low vibration track.” 

Holcim-logo Certification of Class C Fly Ash for Holcim, Inc.
Holcim, Inc. contacted CTLGroup to perform comprehensive daily analysis of fly ash from a coal power plant to ensure that it consistently adheres to standards and regulations for use in concrete.  The CTLGroup team employed its material-testing capabilities to produce high quality, high throughput data for Holcim, who rely on this data for critical process control and uninterrupted operation. Certain fly ash characteristics, such as sulfur content, moisture content, and density, are strictly governed by ASTM standards for concrete production (ASTM C618). With CTLGroup’s expertise, it was possible to develop a testing regimen that ensures quality in the final product. 

CTLGroup Lobby Image 1 Thumbnail Research to Evaluate Behavior of Concrete Containment Structures Subject to Overpressurization

In the wake of the Three Mile Island accident, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) engaged CTLGroup to participate in an immense research project. The primary objectives of the research were to investigate the structural behavior and failure mode of concrete secondary containment structures subject to overpressurization during a loss of coolant accident (LOCA). The complexity and magnitude of the task led the firm to design and build a massive multi-axial test frame for the project capable of applying over 50 million pounds of force needed to test full-scale wall elements to ultimate capacity. Biaxial loading applied to the steel liner plate and reinforcement protruding from the circumferential and vertical boundaries of each wall element test specimen was used to simulate stretching of the wall due to internal pressurization.

The multi-axial test frame (a.k.a “MAX”) weighed 1.6 million pounds, contained 300 cubic yards of 10,000 psi concrete, and over 60,000 pounds of reinforcing and prestressing steel. Auxillary test fixtures were also designed and built to interface with the multi-axial test frame for the purpose of applying air pressure to the steel liner plate surface of the test specimen and of measuring leak rates at various stages of each test. Results from the testing program were used to confirm analytical models developed for the purpose of predicting strength and deformation characteristics of secondary reactor containments under internal overpressurization from postulated degraded core accidents, and for performing plant-specific probabilistic risk assessments.