Our Method

The UConn Crumbling Foundation Research Team has developed a method to obtain and analyze concrete samples that is minimally invasive and provides a measurement of the pyrrhotite concentration with high accuracy and precision.

The following two videos provide an introduction to the pyrrhotite problem that includes simple descriptions of the basic chemical processes, and a description of the method itself and what results are provided. More details are provided in the following documents:

Understanding Pyrrhotite

The UConn Method

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I have my foundation tested by the UConn method?

With support from a federal grant by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), UConn will provide 500 tests free of charge to eligible homeowners. To be considered for free testing, please fill out the online form on our website. The UConn Team typically schedules sampling within 10 business days of the request; results are available within 4 weeks of sampling.

Can UConn inspect my home and provide a classification of the damage?

No. We are not licensed to provide home inspections in Connecticut or any other state. You should consult with a professional engineer or licensed home inspector.

What does it mean if the report says that “trace amounts” of pyrrhotite are present in the concrete?

The WD-XRF method can provide reliable quantification results for the amount of sulfide and the corresponding concentration of pyrrhotite down to a certain concentration known as the "limit of quantification". This is 0.1% by weight of sulfide, which corresponds to 0.25% by weight of pyrrhotite. These amounts can be quantified when the total sulfur concentration exceeds 0.3%.

A total sulfur concentration of the concrete sample below 0.2% generally does not support the presence of any pyrrhotite, since all sulfur is accounted for by the cement content itself. However, for total sulfur concentrations between 0.2% and 0.3%, it is likely that small amount of pyrrhotite (below 0.25 wt.%) are present, but cannot be reliably quantified. This is summarized in the following table.

Total Sulfur Pyrrhotite present? Quantified in Report?
>0.30 wt.% yes yes
0.20-0.30 wt.% likely no; trace reported (<0.25 wt.%)
<0.20 wt.% no no, non-detect reported

I have received the UConn report and pyrrhotite was identified. What do I do now?

We cannot provide an interpretation of individual results at this time, nor predictions with respect to potential damage. This is the ultimate purpose of our research study.

Can UConn help me change the severity class code of my home?

No. Severity classification in the State of Connecticut is only performed through a Connecticut-licensed engineer or certified home inspector. No classification system is currently available in other states.

My home is located outside Connecticut. Can I still receive testing services?


Can UConn help me understand the results of other tests performed in the past?

Unfortunately, no. Questions on other reports should be directed to the laboratories that performed the tests.

What is the COVID safety protocol followed for home testing?

The UConn Team has worked with Environmental Health and Safety to put in place a comprehensive protocol that will be followed during sampling and ensure the protection of both UConn personnel and homeowners from exposure to COVID. The complete protocol can be downloaded here.