The Structural Materials Testing Lab is one of the largest, best-equipped facilities of its kind in the country. The lab’s ability to perform both full-scale, but also component and material testing, sets it apart. Most institutions must rely on numeral research with small-scale testing; but the CIR allows researchers to go one step further and conduct research on structural elements and systems similar to those put into service.
The 8,400-square-foot strong floor provides a 45-foot clear height. Adjacent to the strong floor is a 60-foot-long by 40-foot-tall reinforced concrete reaction wall capable of resisting a 1,000 kip load (1,000 pounds of force) at any elevation. The high bay lab has two tandem 35-ton overhead cranes with five-ton auxiliary hoists. An adjoining mid-bay lab provides a 40-foot by 60-foot floor space with a 20-ton, 28-foot clear height overhead crane.
Unique aspects of research performed in the Structural and Materials Testing Laboratory includes: full-scale testing of bridge support components, such as bent caps and girders; railroad rail fatigue testing under combined axial tension and bending; large-scale burst testing of service-damaged petroleum line pipe; scaffold and shoring proof-testing; seismically resilient bridge columns with sliding-rocking segmental joints; damage-resistant bridge columns using novel polymeric materials in damage-prone locations; seismic performance assessment of structures accounting for environmental conditions; and aging effects.