Bituminous Testing

Simtec's lab technicians analyse samples from the site. They confirm the correct bitumen, check the amount, and assess the plant's quality control for aggregate size and type.

Asphalt Lab Testing Services

  • Binder content and aggregate grading
  • Maximum density
  • Binder recovery
  • Binder softening point and penetration
  • Tar content
  • Density and Refusal Density, including air voids of cored material
  • Core logging and photography
Asphalt Testing

Needle Penetration Testing

The needle penetrometer is commonly used in laboratories to measure the depth to which a needle can penetrate a bituminous binder over a set period of time. It is used both for fresh bitumen and recovered bitumen, where it determines the residual penetration. This is important to know, as it tells you the stiffness and workability of the whole mixture.

In the Simtec Lab

Road Core Samples

Road cores are taken as part of quality control of new road works and also from existing pavements for investigatory purposes. These 150mm diameter cores await testing of thickness and air void content. Bitumen can be extracted from these cores to evaluate the condition of the binder, its residual penetration, and softening point.

A selection of concrete core sampling

Compositional Analysis

Compositional Analysis (CA) is a standard quality control method for bituminous mixtures. This confirms that a mix complies with the requisite specification.

In this test, the bitumen binder is dissolved and washed off the aggregate particles. This produces a clean aggregate sample which can then be compliance checked. The bitumen that is dissolved in the solvent can be extracted. Its mass can then be calculated as a percentage of the mass of the original sample.

Lab Technician

Binder Recovery

The binder recovery apparatus allows a sample of bituminous binder to be extracted from already laid material. This sample can be used for tests like binder residual penetration and the ring and ball softening point.

Soil Testing in the Simtec lab


The relevant UKAS accredited bituminous laboratory tests, and the corresponding standard numbers are:

Test Standard Number

Needle Penetration

BS EN1426:2015

Softening Point

BS EN1427:2015

Bitumen Recovery (Rotary)

BS EN12697-3:2013+A1 2018

Binder Content

BS EN12697-1:2012

Particle Size Distribution

BS EN12697-2:2015