Civil Engineering unveils new Structural Teaching Lab

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | By Lindsay Cashin
Rob Third (George Third & Son), centre, receives a certificate of recognition for his contribution to the project from Professors Reza Vaziri (L) and Tony Yang (R)

The Department of Civil Engineering welcomed industry partners to campus on April 24th, 2013, to mark the grand opening of the new Structural Engineering Teaching Laboratory in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Building. Those present witnessed a demonstration of the lab’s new Reconfigurable Structure Testing Frame and Small Scale Shaking Table Facility. The new testing frame, which includes a computer controller that recreates dynamic loads in real-time, will enhance the educational experience of civil engineering students by allowing them to test the failure rates of the structures that they build. In the past, they could  only calculate theoretical failure rates. “The testing frame was invented here at UBC and is the very first of its kind in the world,” says Dr. Tony Yang, Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department.“Every undergraduate student in the Department will have access to this state-of-the-art lab, and they will work in  groups to design scaled-down structures, simultaneously benefitting from teamwork, hands-on construction experience, and firsthand exposure to the failure of  structures.” Professor Yang is the faculty member responsible for procuring the funding necessary to establish the lab, and he already has plans to expand the  use of the new lab to include courses in concrete, timber, and steel structures. Graduate students will also have access to the facilities in order to develop  innovative components for extreme loads. The new lab, made possible by gift-in-kind donations from several benefactors totalling over $100,000, is the first  structural lab ever to be used for teaching purposes in the Department of Civil Engineering. It provides UBC with a major advantage over other universities — the  new technology will expose students to situations typically only experienced by professional engineers, which will better prepare them for careers as structural  engineers. The Faculty of Applied Science and the Department of Civil Engineering would like to sincerely thank the following donors for their generous  contributions toward the Structural Engineering Teaching Laboratory: SEABC (which also co-hosted the April 24th event), Ebco Metal Finishings, George Third and Son Ltd., Varsteel Ltd., and Pacific Bolt Manufacturing Ltd.

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