The High-Bay Structural and Materials Testing Laboratory primarily serves researchers in the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the Texas A&M University Zachry Department of Civil Engineering. The testing equipment, instrumentation, and shop equipment contained within the High-Bay Structural and Materials Testing Laboratory represent an investment of several million dollars, and the laboratory is one of the largest, most modern, and best-equipped facilities of its kind located in the South and Southwest. The laboratory contains machine/electronic shops and general-purpose laboratories. The laboratory also contains a high-bay structural laboratory with a total floor area of 4,000 square feet (40 feet by 100 feet) and a ceiling height of 40 feet. The lab has a strong floor consisting of three 12-foot deep box girders covered with a 2-foot thick heavily reinforced concrete slab for large-scale testing. Tie-down holes throughout the floor are on 3-foot centers. Each tie-down hole can withstand a service load of 100 kips exerted either upward or downward. The area has temperature and humidity controls, and a 20-ton overhead crane.
The facility accommodates a variety of structural specimens and has several computer-controlled dynamic or static (tension or compression) actuators: two each with capacities of 220 kips, 100 kips, 50 kips, and 20 kips. Three 600-kip static loading jacks are also available. The laboratory has two permanently installed high force test systems rated at 1,500 kips and 500 kips, dynamic or static (tension or compression). The horizontal test area of the high force system is 20 inches by 30 inches with a vertical test space of 10 feet. A central hydraulic pump facility with two 70-gpm pumps and one 40-gpm pump powers all test equipment in the laboratory at 3000 psi. Individual automated consoles control all test actuators or machines as closed-loop systems. PC-based data acquisition systems with signal filtering and conditioning capabilities are used to record experimental data from extensive measurement devices, including a wide array of linear variable differential transformers (LVDTs), accelerometers, and load cells. Data acquisition capabilities include automated strain gauge bridge completion circuitry as well as analog inputs.
Other facilities include material mixing/preparation rooms, environmentally controlled rooms, a microscopy lab and center, and a structural health monitoring laboratory.