Structures and Materials Labs

Multiple laboratories within the Engineering Building provide students and researchers with the capabilities necessary to engineer the next generation of advanced composite materials. Laboratories are equipped with a universal testing machine (MTS Model 810) with a 550,000 pounds capacity and complete digital control, strain gages, and mixing and molding equipment; all the equipment necessary to produce high performance fiber reinforced concrete. Also available is a two directional in-plane load frame with vertical compressive capacity of 229,000 pounds, tensile capacity of 159,000 pounds and horizontal compressive capacity of 146,000 pounds, tensile capacity of 90,000 pounds. The vertical actuator reaction mechanism consists of two roller systems. The rollers prevent transverse moment at the interface of the horizontal actuator. Both actuators have a 20-inch stroke capability and are mounted on a steel frame with adjustable columns to allow for specimens of various sizes up to 20 inches by 36 inches in cross-section. These loading devices are completely computer controlled for load application and data acquisition.

Additional facilities include equipment for aggregate, cement, asphalt, concrete and steel testing, which can also be adapted for testing other materials such as timber, polymer composites, rock, etc. The aggregate testing equipment encompasses sieve analysis as well as specific gravity and unit weight measurement systems. Cement and asphalt testing apparatus include Vicat, mortar cube, fineness, penetration, Marshall mix-design and voids analysis test systems. We have capability for performing mix-design and performance tests on fresh (plastic) and hardened concrete (slump, air, compressive strength, tensile and flexural strength, and elastic modulus), and a curing tank for curing concrete cylinders is available in this laboratory.

The SMLs also house significant nondestructive testing capabilities. The nondestructive testing equipment for property evaluation, condition assessment and defect evaluation are: infrared thermographic digital camera; boroscope; ultrasonic test system with 50KHz to 1 MHz frequency transducers and two channel acoustic emission system with 150 KHz wide band transducers primarily used for concrete; impact-echo system including instrumented hammers; corrosion monitoring Hall sensors; and eddy current sensors. Equipment specific to forensic inspection of field specimens applicable to hardened concrete tests are an apparatus for rapid chloride ion permeability and acid soluble chloride content measurement.

Also available in this lab are two environmental chambers for freeze-thaw testing, two high-temperature furnaces, digital cameras and optical microscopes, acoustics and other meters, and general tools. In addition, the lab is equipped with networked PCs and typical peripherals (printers, scanners, etc.).

These laboratories are used by students in the Civil Engineering Materials course (CE 4450).