Labs and facilities


Research progress is rooted in varying degrees to both technical expertise and a creative spirit. This pairing motivates the student to pose and answer new questions that advance progress in civil and environmental engineering. We support the research process by providing a full-range of labs and supporting facilities so that your basic engineering education as an undergraduate is facilitated, and if you are a graduate student, your research progress continues unabated.

Environmental assessment laboratory

In these photos, we show lab and field equipment for surface and subsurface assessment of the hydraulics and other soil and landscape physical attributes that regulate hydrologic fluxes (groundwater, soil water, surface water and water quality sampling). We are particularly well set-up for and experienced in urban field work. Specialized equipment for assessment of unsaturated zone hydraulics on undisturbed field soil core samples include the METER HYPROP2/WP4C system for detailed determination of the soil moisture release curve and related hydraulic parameters.

seven cylindrical tubes and other lab and field equipment for surface and subsurface assessment of hydraulics and other soil

METER HYPROP2/WP4C, gray square box with digital display and knob used for surface and subsurface assessment of hydraulics and other soil

Structural engineering testing and assessment facilities

The Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been recently awarded a proposal to establish and maintain a Center of Excellence in Structural Durability by the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Center is structured to provide solutions to durability-related concerns by developing and synthesizing advanced research results on materials, design, construction, repair, and maintenance of highway structures, primarily bridges, in order to prolong service life. 

one gray machinery with red, blue, green buttons, one rectangle machinery with buttons and metal beams for testing rigs

metal beams and other heavy mechanisms to test rigs

white and blue chamber with buttons and small digital display

Pictures left to right are custom and MTS testing rigs, and an example of a smaller environment chamber for controlled weathering of samples.

Geotechnical engineering teaching lab

Our department supports the undergraduate course Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, and departmental research efforts involving soils and aggregate materials with a newly-renovated lab facility.

lab room with round stools underneath three tables, computer monitor screen, other lab equipments set on top of tables by the wall

lab equipments with gauges, knobs, clear tubes for soil and aggregated materials

green machinery with red and blue buttons with a round short silver tube by the bottom

Hydraulics teaching lab

Hydraulics and water flow in open-channel and piped conveyances are fundamental to training civil-environmental engineers. We provide comprehensive teaching facilities to get hands-on experience with foundational principles and methods through apparatus like that pictured here, which are (left to right) a flume rig, fluid mechanics workbench, and pipe hydraulics demonstrations.

a flume rig with blue mental stands and clear glass panels with rubber tubes

an orange fluid mechanics workbench with many clear cylinders, some with colored liquid, empty containers under the work bench and other lab equipments by the window

many connecting clear tubings, some with blue liquid inside and a gauge for pipe hydraulics demonstrations

Environmental research lab

We maintain a large environmental research laboratory footprint, composed of 5 separate modules, dedicated to research in the areas of: microplastics, biogeochemical cycling, drinking water and wastewater processes, extraction of rare-earth metals, and contaminant fate and transport. If we don't have the instrumentation that you need for your work, we can likely find it at our Wayne State Lumigen facility that maintains and supports a world-class inventory of analytic instrumentation, or access through our close collaborative associations with other departments and local universities.

research lab with hanging white lab coats, desks, chairs, and various lab equipments

The Healthy Urban Waters lab

The Healthy Urban Waters laboratory includes two field stations, one at Lake St. Clair Metropark and the other at the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Waterworks Park Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

Information about these field stations and other activities of Healthy Urban Waters can be found on Healthy Urban Waters.