Geotechnical Engineering Lab

The geotechnical engineering group at Missouri S&T is equipped with a cluster of advanced testing equipment.


Instructional geotechnical laboratory

The instructional geotechnical laboratory is used to conduct laboratory sessions that are part of the coursework for undergraduate classes. Our lab is well-equipped with equipment for evaluating all engineering properties of soils including index properties, soil gradation (sieve and hydrometer analyses), specific gravity, standard and modified Proctor compaction, constant and falling head permeability,  consolidation, CBR and unconfined compression strength, direct shear, and triaxial tests as well as some in-situ testing equipment such as field density, standard penetration test kit, cone penetration test kit and vane shear test.


Graduate research labs

There are three graduate research labs with uniquely innovative experimental equipment that includes state-of-the-art control and data acquisition systems. The equipment is suitable for characterization of saturated and unsaturated soils under static, cyclic, and dynamic applications. Some of the equipment located in this laboratory includes but are not limited to: MTS 810 and 858 static and dynamic testing systems, GCTS SDS-150 direct shear testing system for soils and asphalts, GCTS MRT resilient modulus testing system, and GCTS SSH-100 simple shear testing system, spectral induced polarization measurement system, and bender elements for shear stiffness measurement for the triaxial device.

A state-of-the-art unsaturated soil laboratory is also under construction, which will be equipped with custom-made testing equipment used for studying unsaturated soil behavior. Some of the equipment includes but are not limited to: GCTS SWC-150 soil-water characteristic cell, Campbell ScientificÒ CR7 700X Measurement and Control System, SoilMoistureÒ 5 bar and 15 bar ceramic plate extractors (coming soon), GDS Suction-controlled triaxial testing system (coming soon), customized constant water-content oedometer-direct shear device for unsaturated soils, customized soil-water characteristic curve and shrinkage curve device, a photogrammetry-based method for measuring total and localized volume change for saturated and unsaturated soils. Other devices include GCTS FTC-100 Fredlund thermal conductivity sensor, GDS mid-plane pore pressure transducers, in-house made high suction tensiometers, Decagon WP4 dewpoint potentialMeter, and a variety of moisture sensors.

A pore-scale laboratory focuses on the pore-scale studies of the flow and transport in porous media and fractures of saturated and unsaturated soils and rocks. Some of the equipment includes but are not limited to: fluorescent microscope, phantom high speed camera, confocal laser scanning microscope, Harvard pump, microfluidic fabrication systems, femtosecond laser based 3D micromodel fabrication systems, refractometer, and shaker systems.

Besides physical testing equipment in the laboratory, there are also two high performance computers equipped with various geotechnical modelling software packages such as COMSOL Multiphysics, ABAQUS, Fluent, and Discrete Element Modeling tools including PFC 2D and 3D, OpenSees, the GeoStudio Suite, and Image Process tools include Simpleware and ImageJ.



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