Structural Engineering

Structures Laboratory

The Department has a 4840 sq. ft. (450 m2) high head-room Structures Laboratory containing a 30 ft x 72 ft (9 m x 22 m) reaction floor which can be used with various moveable reaction frames and hydraulic loading systems for quasi-static testing of large-scale structural components. Two universal testing machines are also available. Two MTS servo-controlled loading systems are available, with a range of jacks suitable for programmed cyclic and fatigue testing. These systems can be used for quasi-static earthquake testing of structural components. A computer-based data acquisition system is available for on-line data reduction and analysis with links to other computers.

The Department has a dedicated research lab for the study earthquakes called the Earthquake Engineering Research Facility (EERF).  It is located in a building adjacent to the Rusty Hut.  The lab space consists of 490 m2 with a control room and work area consisting of 42 m2. There is a large conference room (30 m2) with video conferencing capability and an open office area of about 20 m2 on a mezzanine level.  There is also an office area in the basement that occupies about 30 m2.  The rest of the basement houses the hydraulic system used to power the equipment in the lab.

The main activity in this lab is the study of how materials and designs behave as they are subjected to earthquake motions.  There are two main pieces of equipment used to do this:

  • The Linear Shake Table

This device consists of a metal platform to which test articles are affixed and that is moved in one direction by use of an actuator.  The control software is written in DasyLab.  It is used for research testing only.

  • The Multiple Axis Shake Table

This device consists of a 4 m by 4 m metal platform to which test articles are affixed and that can move in six degrees of motion (X, Y, Z and pitch, roll and yaw) by use of seven actuators.

The control system for this piece of equipment has two tiers.  The lower level control system is designed in house and controls the movement of the individual actuators.  The higher level controller is a commercially produced piece of software from Spectral Dynamics called Jaguar.

These pieces of equipment are used for research purposes only.

The EERF equipment also includes several digital systems for field vibration testing of structures. Those include accelerometers, computer hardware, and in-house developed computer software to analyze data in a very fast and reliable manner.