High-Bay Lab
Bridge Column Testing

Structural Engineering Research Laboratory

This leading-edge testing facility, housed in Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall, opens new doors to projects, funding sources and hands-on learning for students. It contains state-of-the-art equipment and is suitable for testing large-scale components and systems.

‌The High-bay Structures Lab, as it's called, was renovated beginning in 1999 and was completed in 2003. The lab was built with easy access to two major streets on either side. It has 770 m2 of usable floor area for testing and evaluation of structural components and systems. The laboratory is approximately 35 m long, which is ideal for testing large- and full-scale structures. Inside the laboratory a 20-ton overhead crane was installed with a vertical clearance of 6 m.

‌The laboratory also has a bidirectional reaction wall 5.5 m in height. Outside the north entrance of the lab, a loading dock was built with an exterior crane of 20-ton capacity to load and unload large specimens. The High-bay Structures Lab also has a twin tunnel basement under the 258 m2 strong floor to facilitate anchorage of testing setups.

A materials laboratory is connected to the high-bay area that is accessible to prepare structural samples and related materials testing. And there is a machine shop to provide support for the fabrication of custom equipment and test specimens.

High Bay Lab Photo

List of equipment available at S&T

• MTS Large Scale Testing Equipment:
S&T acquired research equipment capable of testing large-scale specimens under NSF Award CMS-0116273. This entire system was set in operation in the spring of 2003, and up-to-date testing has been successfully conducted on two 1:1.25 scale column-beam joint connection models and other large scale specimens. The testing equipment consisted of three hydraulic actuators with servo-controlled valves for pseudo-static testing. The three actuators consist of 2-MTS 490kN force capacity and a 510 mm stroke capacity, and 1-MTS 980kN force capacity and a 760 mm stroke capacity. In 2008, two additional actuators were added: 1-MTS 980 kN force capacity and a 760 mm stroke capacity, and 1-MTS 490 kN force capacity (fatigue rated) and a  510 mm stroke capacity. To complement this equipment, the following are also available; hydraulic service manifolds, one 350-litter/m hydraulic power pump, and one MTS-493.05 FlexTest GT electronic control system. In addition, assembly of a 128-channel high-capacity data acquisition system (DAS) was completed; the system can be expanded to 256-channels.

• Existing research and educational equipment:
S&T has a unidirectional shaking table (1.22 m x 2.14 m in size) that was built and installed by MTS Systems Corporation in Eden Prairie, Minn. This shaking table supports a maximum payload of 200 kN. Together with a small hydraulic actuator (± 38 mm stroke), the controller has been successfully employed to control a ¼ -scale building frame mounted on the shake table.

The lab also has a 44-kg Saraswati mechanical oscillator Type SEA-350. It is a compact, portable, easy to operate and lightweight machine used to induce controlled sinusoidal vibrations in structures, foundations and assemblies, etc. The oscillator can generate a maximum load of ± 5000 kg at 100 Hz with the maximum running speed of 6000 RPM. The unit is 317 x 226 x 170 mm in dimension.

There is a MTS880 universal testing machine (556-kN capacity and a ± 152.4 mm stroke), a Tinius-Olsen L120000 loading machine (600-kN capacity), and a Baldwin/Forney testing machine (2,224-kN capacity and a 254-mm stroke). Together with the MTS880 testing machine, the Camac crate with a Pentium II Computer can be used to record 64 channels of streaming data at the rate of 1.0 MHz. The laboratory is also equipped with a 32-channel data acquisition that is capable of streaming data at 100 kHz. It can be interfaced with the Tinius-Olsen and Baldwin loading machines. Two hydraulic actuators (2298-kN capacity and a ± 76 mm stroke, fatigue rated as 45 kN at the rate of 3 Hz) are also available for testing of small components. Both have been extensively used to test small-scale structural members. In addition, 6 loading jacks with range in capacity between 445-kN and 890-kN are on hand.

• Computer Equipment:  
UNIX, Sun, SGI Indigo, HP, multi DAS and 20 PC Pentium stations are on hand and access to NCSA through Cornell Supercomputing is also available.


Other Resources

Brian Swift, a senior research design engineer for the department, has a strong background in data acquisition, equipment installation, programming, operation and maintenance. Greg Leckrone, a senior engineering technician, is in charge of the machine shop and Gary Abbott, a senior research electronic technician, assists with the maintenance and repair of complex instruments and equipment in the lab.