Earth materials, aggregates and alternative construction materials

The investigation of the technical properties of mineral construction materials from the perspective of the diverse applications of the materials has been one of the key focus areas of the TerraRoad research group for more than 20 years. Thanks to the long-standing research efforts, the TerraRoad research group is clearly equipped with Finland’s most versatile capabilities for studying the properties of earth and aggregate materials as well as bricks and various alternative construction materials. We are able to analyse the composition of materials on a microscopic scale and to test their performance under loading conditions corresponding to real infrastructures – and everything in between.

Both ground and construction with materials taken from the ground are characterised by the fact that the conditions of each construction site are unique. This necessitates the development and maintenance of a variety of research methods and tools that are needed in determining and classifying the properties of the materials that are the starting point for site-specific design. The range of methods and skills required here is vast, as the essential technical properties of earth construction materials always depend on the intended use of the structure, be it the foundation of a building, road, street, railway, landfill, nuclear waste disposal tunnel, sports facility structure or recreation area.

The aims of promoting the circular economy and saving non-renewable resources also guide us to constantly look for new and appropriate applications for various alternative construction materials. Compared to conventional earth construction materials, important aspects related to the usability of recycled materials include, for example, issues related to the environmental acceptability, long-term durability as well as chemical and structural compatibility of different materials. We strive to be actively involved in these investigations together with our partners.