Large-Scale Testing Laboratory

Large-Scale Testing Laboratory

The Large-Scale Testing Laboratory was built to serve students and researchers in UTSA's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, one of the University's most innovative departments. 

The Large-Scale Testing Laboratory is a 50-foot tall steel facility that provides a space where civil engineering students can build and test structural systems, such as concrete beams, in a large and realistic setting. This 15,000 square foot facility supports a wide array of research initiatives, including robust support for geotechnical and structural engineering projects such as bridge and building components and new materials needed for increasingly complex construction projects.

This building has a 40x80 foot reaction floor that provides our researchers with the ability to test real-size structural systems and components. The reaction floor thickness ranges from three feet to five feet thick, and provides the capability to apply test loads up to four million pounds of force, making portions of the the floor the strongest in the nation. Underneath the reaction floor is a basement structure for researchers to secure test specimens and monitor experiments. 

This new facility gives UTSA the capacity to test large-scale systems and components with spans of up to 70 feet. The laboratory also has dual cranes with 30-ton capacity to load, unload, and transport heavy specimens. 

Within in the laboratory is housed a large-capacity Hydraulic Power Supply and high-pressure distribution lines with access manifolds in the service chase that facilitate the use of servo-controlled actuators anywhere in the test floor. The Hydraulic Power Supply and distribution system provide the ability for civil and structural engineering researchers to simulate a wide range of issues including high cycle fatigue, earthquakes, and blast loads.

The facility is complemented with support areas for fabrication and instrumentation of specimens, offices for students, faculty, and staff, and a conference room, where visitors can observe tests as they are performed in the lab.