Clay Material Testing laboratory
Lab Manager: Dr. Virginia McLemore
The NMBGMR has facilities to characterize the mineralogy and ceramic properties of clay materials. Testing capabilities include particle-size distribution analyses to measure the amounts of clay, silt and coarser material present; X-ray diffraction analyses to determine the mineralogy of both bulk-rock samples and clay-size material; gravimetric moisture content: paste pH and conductivity; and slake durability tests. In addition we are able to provide semi-quantitative chemical analyses using a portable Bruker XRF instrument. The results of these tests aid in determining the value of clay materials to the public and industry, and their importance in scientific research. Current projects of the clay material testing laboratory include the characterization of mine rock piles and soils contaminated by heavy metals. Another important area of study is the evaluation of clay material resources for existing and possible new industries in New Mexico. Although the clay materials laboratory cannot accept outside samples on a regular basis, contract testing is possible on a limited number of projects in which test results would benefit both the public and the Bureau. Rates are available upon request.