The Civil Engineering structures laboratory at North Dakota State University encompasses approximately 1512 square feet. This area is utilized by students and faculty for undergraduate and graduate studies, research projects, and for professional society competitions.
The structures lab consists of six major pieces of equipment: 1) a large load frame and pump unit, 2) a 250 kip compression testing machine, 3) a 22 kip compression/tension load frame, 4) a 300 kip compression testing machine, 5) an environmental chamber and dewar, and 6) a light industrial ultrasonic scanning tank and equipment.
The load frame and pump unit are manually controlled and are used to statically test moderate sized decks/slab systems and small to medium sized steel and concrete beams. The frame is 9 feet high by 10.75 feet wide by 23.5 feet long and is constructed of steel wide-flange sections. The pump unit is a 10,000 psi Riehle unit that has been outfitted with an Omega pressure transducer. The pressure transducer provides an RS232 interface for computer download. Hydraulic rams are used with the pump unit to produce the necessary static loads. Two models are currently available for use with the frame; 18 kip and 50 kip Enerpacs.
The 250 kip compression machine is a Satec 250QC Prism with the Datcom III software package. This machine is used primarily for strength testing of standard concrete cylinders. It can also be used for flexural testing of smaller samples in three or four point bend mode. An extensiometer module has recently been purchased for this machine to enhance its capabilities. The Datcom III software provides the means of individual programming for specific tests and data collecting.
Satec also manufactures the 22 kip compression/tension machine. It is a mechanical (screw type) load frame that is fully computer controlled, fully programmable, and has a built-in data acquisition system. Because of the lower capacity of this test frame, this machine is ideally suited for testing of wood, plastics, and certain composite materials.
The 300 kip compression-testing machine is manufactured by the Baldwin company. The unit is manually controlled and utilized primarily for testing of concrete and masonry.
The environmental chamber is an MTS design capable of temperatures from -200 to +600 degree F. The chamber utilizes liquid nitrogen for cooling and heated coils for heating. The chamber is programmable and provides an interface for data download. This unit can be used stand alone or can be placed within a load frame and used to cool or heat specimens while under load. This machine is shared between the civil and mechanical engineering departments.
The ultrasonic scanner is a state-of-the-art 3-axis scanner capable of non-destructive inspection of a wide range of materials. It is capable of A, B, and C-scan generations and includes waveform analysis software. This machine is also shared between the civil and mechanical engineering departments.
The structures laboratory is also used to enhance the learning experience of undergraduate students. Civil Engineering Materials, CE 303, utilizes the laboratory to prepare concrete design mixtures and create concrete cylinders for compression testing. The lab is also used occasionally to demonstrate structural steel behavior for CE 444, Structural Steel Design.
In addition to the equipment just described, the structures lab provides a considerable amount of open floor space to be used for specimen preparation, layout, and special projects. The student chapter of ASCE is regularly involved in the concrete canoe and steel bridge competitions. The students use the available floor space to build their concrete canoe and for fabricating and erecting their steel bridge.
Prospective students may schedule a visit by calling 1-800-488-NDSU.
© Copyright 2002, Civil Engineering and Construction, North Dakota State University