Structural Lab

The Structural Laboratory of the Department of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee began its activities in 1970’s, and has since served as a prominent resource for state-of-the-art research and development activities in structural and materials engineering.  The UWM Structural Laboratory has capabilities for testing a wide range of structural materials, components and systems for buildings, bridges, factories, machinery, automotive structures, etc. The Laboratory, occupying 3500 square feet, has a main structural test area of 2400 sq ft (60 feet long and 40 feet wide) served by two overhead 10-ton-capacity cranes. Tie-down locations are provided at 3-ft spacing throughout the structural floor area. A load of 100,000 lbs (tension or compression) can be applied at each tie-down point. This facility also includes a large reaction wall for application of horizontal loads.

UWM Structural Laboratory

Layout of UWM Structural Laboratory

Testing Capabilities:

  • Multi-directional static and dynamic testing.
  • Capable of applying several hundred thousand lbs of force in each direction.
  • Capable of testing a wide range of structural materials, components and systems.
  • Non-destructive testing and data acquisition systems

Testing Equipment

A comprehensive range of static and fatigue-rated hydraulic actuators, pumps, universal testing machines, and servo-hydraulic test controllers allows the application of static, dynamic and fatigue loadings on specimens ranging from small test coupons to 60-ft-long bridge beams. Various types of sensors are available to measure structural response parameters. Several different types of conventional and high-speed data acquisition systems are utilized to carry out tests. The facility is also equipped with other instrumentation such as dynamic analyzers, signal generators, and electronic systems for instrumentation.

Several Universal test machines for tension and/or compression testing of materials are available within the Structural Laboratory. This includes a 110,000-lbs servo-controlled MTS machine with hydraulic grips that can be used for fatigue and static testing of a wide variety of materials, One MTS 858 Mini Bionix test frame (axial and torsion), Four Instron 11 kip test machines, three hydraulic pumps (15 GPM, 70 GPM, and 140 GPM), and several actuators up to 220-kip capacity. Non-destructive testing equipment include acoustic emission, vibration monitoring, ultrasonic, ultrasonic imaging, impact-echo, magnetic flux leakage, strain measurement, photo elastic, holography, and magnetic particle.

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