Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico Back to Pupr.edu Structural Transportation Geotechnical Environmental Construction
  • Department Labs
  • Construction Materials Laboratory
  • 1. Introduction

    The development of any engineering project requires the civil engineer to have an understanding of the materials and the structural elements from which the project will be constructed. The physical and mechanical properties as well as the loads that each construction material and structural element can withstand are part of the information required for the design of a construction project. Technological advances, challenges in construction, and novel discoveries have been historically some of the motivators for the constant creation of new materials and systems used for the construction of structures. As new materials and structural systems are developed, the necessity to test these and gather data on their behavior increases.

    With its key personnel and technological resources, the Construction Materials Laboratory at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico is in a valuable position for helping in the advancement of new construction technologies. This laboratory is mostly used to support Civil Engineering undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as some extracurricular activities of the students, such as a competitions sponsored by the student chapters of professional societies, such as the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Most importantly, the laboratories are used to support research projects targeted toward the better understanding of old and new construction materials and structural systems.

    In the Construction Materials course (CE 3502) the students learn the fundamental properties of the most common construction materials used in Puerto Rico and the United States. Concurrently, in the Construction Materials Laboratory course (CE 3503), the students have the opportunity to test the knowledge acquired in the theoretical course by experimenting with various construction materials.

    2. Objectives

    The Construction Materials Laboratory seeks to offer its services to the construction industry to help develop a better understanding of the structural behavior of construction materials and structural systems, be them old or new. This laboratory also seeks sponsors who want to help students to develop research projects or to participate in national competitions sponsored by professional societies.

    3. Enrollment

    The maximum enrollment of the CE 3503 course is 16 students. In each academic term (Fall, Winter, and Spring) two or three sections of the course are offered.

    4. Staff

    The following table summarizes the personnel that teach or assist in the Construction Materials Laboratory.

    Resource Employment status
    Roberto Marte, MSCE, PE Full time associate professor and Coordinator of the Construction Materials Laboratory
    Ginger Rossy, PhD Full time professor
    Jorge Echeandía, MSCE Part time lecturer
    Salvador Montilla, BSEE Assistant to the Coordinator of the Construction Materials Laboratory
    Three undergraduate civil engineering students Student assistants


    5. Facilities

    The laboratory facilities are located in a 25 by 35 feet room that house four working counters with lower storage compartments, one closet compartment, several of the most sensitive testing equipment and one office. Another 12 feet by 45 feet room is used to store larger pieces of equipment, such as the concrete mixer and several other items used in the preparation of concrete mixes.

    6. Tests Conducted and Equipment

        6.1 Concrete aggregates

    Concrete is an artificial rock created by mixing cement, water, aggregates, and additives in the right proportions. The aggregates constitute between 60 and 80 percent of the total concrete mix. This is why the aggregates chosen must be of good quality. Several concrete aggregates tests are performed to obtain the necessary data about the sands and gravel available in the laboratory and from which the students create a concrete mix.

         6.1.1 Fine and Coarse Aggregate Sieve Analysis

    This test is performed to verify if the chosen materials have an adequate particle size distribution to be used in normal weight concrete. The laboratory has a Fine Aggregate Sieves Shaker (Figures 1 and 2) and a Coarse Aggregate Sieves Shaker (Figure 3) to perform these analyses.

         6.1.2 Coarse Aggregate Abrasion Test

    Concrete mixes used for pavement construction will be subjected to abrasion, which could have a negative impact on the aggregates. The Los Angeles Machine (Figure 5) is used to test the abrasive resistance of coarse aggregates.

        6.1.3 Percent Absorption and Specific Gravity of Coarse and Fine Aggregates

    It is necessary to obtain the percent absorption, percent humidity, and specific gravity of the aggregates used in concrete to balance the moisture in a concrete mix. The data necessary for these measurements are obtained using the high precision scales (Figure 10) and ovens (Figure 8) that are available at the laboratory.

         6.1.4 Unit weight of Coarse Aggregates

    Containers calibrated to various yields are available at the laboratory to determine the unit weight of various types of concrete aggregates (Figure 7).

         6.1.5 Organic Impurities in Fine Aggregates

    Bottles, beakers, flasks, and other pieces of glass are available to make precise measurements of the chemicals used to detect organic impurities in fine aggregates which could be detrimental to concrete structures (Figures 6 and 9).

         6.2 Concrete Design, Mixing, and Testing

    As part of the CE 3503 course the students are required to develop a concrete mix having a specific compressive resistance using the aggregates available at the laboratory. They must prepare the mix either using the concrete mixer or by hand, cast concrete cylinders as per specifications, cure them for periods of one week to 28 days and perform resistance tests on them.

    The resistance tests include compressive and split tests performed on one of the two available Forney Concrete Compression Machines (Figure 4). Also Modulus of Elasticity tests are performed using the available electronic or mechanical Compresometers (Figure 11).

        6.3 Wood

    The Forney Concrete Compression Machines are also used to perform compressive tests on samples of wood. Also, the specific gravity and humidity are calculated using the high precision balances and ovens.

        6.4 Reinforcing Steel

    An Instron Hydraulic Universal Testing Machine (Figure 12) is available to test the tensile resistance of various diameters of concrete reinforcing steel rods.

        6.5 Asphalt

    Several procedures and equipment are used at the Construction Materials Laboratory to test the compressive behavior of asphalt pavements.

    7. Other Uses of the Laboratory

    The Construction Materials Laboratory is also used by graduate students to perform material testing and by members of the student chapters of professional societies to develop concrete samples to participate in competitions sponsored by the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Award winning pieces developed at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico are on display at the entrance of the laboratory.

    8. Equipment


    Figure 1. Fine Aggregate Sieves Shaker



    Figure 2. Standard Fine Aggregate Sieves



    Figure 3. Coarse Aggregate Sieves Shaker



    Figure 4. Concrete Compression Machine



    Figure 5. Los Angeles Machine (Coarse Aggregate Abrasion Test)



    Figure 6. Glass Volumetric Flask



    Figure 7. Yield Buckets: 1/10 cf, 1/3 cf, 1/2 cf



    Figure 8. Stabile-Thermal Gravity Oven



    Figure 9. Organic Impurities Test for Sands



    Figure 10. High Precision Scales



    Figure 11. Electronic Strain Measurements for Concrete



    Figure 12. Instron Tensile Equipment and Other Special Testing Equipment


    9. Research Projects

    The following is a list of research projects that have been conducted by the students at the Laboratory:

    • Air-compressing concrete columns
    • Different curing methods for permeable concrete
    • Effects of drastic climate changes in concrete strength
    • FRP applied to concrete members
    • CMU units using Fly Ash from AES
    • Compressive capacity of concrete using destructive and non-destructive testing


    A photograph of civil engineering students working during a laboratory session is presented in Figure 13.


    Figure 13. Students performing laboratory work
  • Department Labs
  • Environmental Engineering Laboratory (CE Program)
  • 1. Introduction

    The Environmental Engineering Laboratory course was designed to develop in the Civil Engineering students the skills included in the program objectives, which require the application of modern technologies and criteria throughout the planning and design processes of civil engineering systems. The laboratory course also contributes partially or totally to the following program outcomes:
    • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, probability and statistics, science, and engineering
    • An ability to conduct laboratory experiments and to critically analyze and interpret data in a minimum of two of the following areas: water supply, wastewater management, air pollution control, and solid waste management
    • An ability to work in teams and to interact with professionals of other disciplines
    • An ability to communicate orally, in writing, and graphically in an effective way
    The objectives of the CE 5405 course are:
    • Learn how to take, store, and preserve water and wastewater samples.
    • Learn how to determine the main physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water and wastewater.
    • Learn how to perform meteorological factors measurements.
    • Acquire knowledge of the laboratory techniques used to monitor the quality of water and wastewater.
    • Develop critical reasoning skills for underlying analytical principles, quality assessment and control of environmental analyses.
    • Learn how to report the work clearly via a lab report.
    • Learn how to work in groups.
    2. Enrollment

    The maximum enrollment of the CE 5405 course is 15 students. In each academic term (Fall, Winter, and Spring) two or three sections of the course are offered.

    3. Staff

    The Environmental Engineering Laboratory course for Civil Engineering is taught by three instructors, who are assisted by a full-time laboratory assistant and an undergraduate student. Background information on the current staff is presented in the table below:

    Resource Employment Status
    Roger Malaver, PhD in Environmental Engineering Full-time professor and Coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Laboratory
    Aluisio Pimenta, PhD in Environmental Engineering Full-time professor
    Eduardo González, MSChE Part-time lecturer
    Angel Noriega, MEM and BSChE Assistant to the Coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Laboratory
    One undergraduate environmental engineering student Student assistant


    4. Facilities

    The facilities provided for the Environmental Engineering Laboratory course for civil engineers are located in room P-413. The room is 21 feet wide and 24 feet long. One working table with drawers and cabinets is available for student work, plus two long counters where equipment and instruments are placed (Figure 1). The room is in compliance with fire protection, as well as with safety and health requirements (Figure 2). A list of the main equipment and instruments available is presented in section 7, together with illustrative photographs.


    Figure 1. Environmental Engineering Laboratory facilities



    Figure 2. Safety devices at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory facilities


    5. Measurements and Experiments conducted

    The laboratory course is taught in two weekly sections of two hours, which include lectures and hands-on activities. Procedures and methods for the routines performed are provided in the form of manuals and handouts. All measurements and experiments performed by the students use methods, equipment and instruments which are accepted by regulatory agencies and used in the environmental field practice. Orientation is also provided on report structure and content.

    Wastewater samples are obtained from the Caguas WWTP, as a courtesy of the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewerage Authority. Potable water samples are collected from tap. Chemicals used are all reagent grade. The laboratory is equipped with water distillation and deionization units. A description of the measurements and experiments performed by the students in each class is presented below:

        5.1. Meteorological Factors

    In this exercise students collect data from the meteorological station available in the roof of the building, interpret it and report on findings and conclusions related to precipitation and evaporation, wind speed and direction, and atmospheric temperature.

        5.2. Color, Turbidity, and Temperature

    Measurements are performed on water samples fro temperature, color and turbidity. The relevance of each different physical characteristic on water quality is discussed, and the difference between apparent and actual color is experimentally determined.

        5.3. Solids

    Measurements are conducted for total, suspended and dissolved solids, using gravimetric analysis. The Imhoff cone is used to measure settleable solids. The relevance of these parameters on water quality is discussed, as well as the origin of each different type of solid constituent.

        5.4. pH and Alkalinity

    Measurements are conducted for pH, using standard pH meters. Topics discussed include the definition of pH, the physical characteristics of water that affect its value, and the importance of using well calibrated instruments. Measurements are also conducted for water alkalinity, using titration with sulfuric acid aided by pH indicators. Topics discussed include the definition of alkalinity, the constituents in water that cause alkalinity, and its relevance for water treatment and water quality.

        5.5. Hardness

    Measurements are conducted for hardness in water, using a titration method. Topics discussed include the definition of hardness, the typical constituents in water that constitute hardness, and its relevance for water treatment and water quality.

        5.6. Chlorine and Conductivity

    Electric conductivity of water samples is measured using conductivity meters. The relationship of electric conductivity in water and its dissolved solids content is discussed. Measurements for total and free chlorine in water samples are performed in the same laboratory session, using colorimetric methods. The concepts of chlorine demand, dose, and residual are discussed.

        5.7. Dissolved Oxygen

    Measurement of dissolved oxygen content in water samples are performed using a colorimetric method. Emphasis is placed on the need for proper sampling procedure to be adopted in the field to assure representative measurements. The importance of oxygen in water bodies is discussed.

        5.8. Chemical Oxygen Demand

    The chemical oxygen demand (COD) is measured for wastewater samples, using a colorimetric measurement of chemically oxidized samples. The concept of COD is discussed, as well as the water constituents that may potentially contribute to COD. The difference between COD and BOD is well established.

        5.9. Biological Oxygen Demand

    The biological oxygen demand (BOD) is measured for wastewater samples, using a respirometric measurement method, which incubates samples at 20oC. The concepts of BOD and BOD5 are discussed, as well as the water constituents that may potentially contribute to BOD. The difference between COD and BOD is well established.

        5.10. Microbiological Characteristics of Water

    Measurements are conducted to determine the microbiological characteristics of both potable water and wastewater. The Presence/Absence measurement is performed on tap water samples to detect the presence of coliform species, which would render the water not potable. The measurement of the most probable number (MPN) of microorganism colonies in wastewater samples is also performed. This measurement is required to determine WWTP effluent compliance with NPDES permits.

        5.11. Jar Test

    The Jar test procedure is performed for a raw water sample, to detect optimum coagulant and alkalinity requirements for optimum coagulation, flocculation and settling of the respective raw water. The routine includes adequate design, performance and interpretation of the test and the results obtained. The procedure also allows the calculation of design overflow rates for the settling tank.

    Evaluation

    The basic instruments for evaluation of both laboratory courses are exams and experimental reports. The exams evaluate the knowledge of the students on background information in the subjects composing the course, on experimental procedures and methods, and/ or calculations and models used. The reports include presentation of background information, methods and materials, examples of calculations, statistical and error analysis, and presentation and discussion of results. Report presentation is also evaluated.

    6. Equipment Maintenance and Calibration

    To the extent possible, maintenance and calibration of equipment and instrumentation is performed by laboratory assisting personnel. When required, supplier representatives are called in for maintenance or calibration.

    7. Equipment

    Figures 3 to 8 show the main equipment and instrumentation used at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory.


    Figure 3. Meteorological station



    Figure 4. Titration unit, pH meter, turbidimeter, conductivity meter, Hach spectrophotometer, and BOD apparatus



    Figure 5. Filtration unit and balances



    Figure 6. Respirometer (BOD), digestion unit (COD), incubator (PA/MPN)



    Figure 7. Oven and Furnace



    Figure 8. Jar Test apparatus


  • Department Labs
  • Environmental Engineering Laboratory (ENVE Program)
  • 1. Introduction

    The two Environmental Engineering laboratory courses were designed to develop in the students the skills included in the program objectives, which require the application of modern technologies and criteria throughout the planning and design processes of environmental systems. The laboratory sequence also contributes partially or totally to the following program outcomes:
    • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, probability and statistics, science, and engineering
    • An ability to conduct laboratory experiments and to critically analyze and interpret data in a minimum of two of the following areas: water supply, wastewater management, air pollution control, and solid waste management
    • An ability to work in teams and to interact with professionals of other disciplines
    • An ability to communicate orally, in writing, and graphically in an effective way
    1.1. Sequence structure

    The Environmental Engineering Laboratory sequence is composed of two courses, Environmental Engineering Laboratory I (ENVE 5511) and Environmental Engineering Laboratory II (ENVE 5513).

    1.2. Objectives of the course sequence

    The objectives of the course sequence are:

    ENVE 5511:
    • Learn how to take store and preserve water and wastewater samples.
    • Learn how to determine the main physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water and wastewater.
    • Learn how to perform meteorological factors measurements.
    • Acquire knowledge of the laboratory techniques used to monitor the quality of water and wastewater.
    • Develop critical reasoning skills for underlying analytical principles, quality assessment and control of environmental analyses.
    • Learn how to report the work clearly via a technical lab report.
    • Learn how to work in groups.
    ENVE 5513:
    • Learn how to prepare, execute and analyze environmental engineering experiments.
    • Learn how to execute and report measurements for air contaminants, solid waste physical properties, metals and dissolved components in wastewater, pH of soil suspensions in water, and adsorption of organic chemicals to activated carbon.
    • Develop critical reasoning skills for underlying analytical principles, quality assessment, and control of environmental analyses through experimental design.
    • Learn how to prepare experimental reports.
    • Acquire further training in group work.
    2. Enrollment

    The maximum enrollment per course section is 15 students. Two to three sections of ENVE 5511 and two to three sections of ENVE 5513 are offered in each academic year.

    3. Staff

    The Environmental Engineering Laboratory courses are taught by two instructors, one for each course, who are assisted by a full-time laboratory assistant and an undergraduate student. Background information on the current staff is presented in the table below:

    Resource Employment Status
    Roger Malaver,PhD in Environmental Engineering Full-time professor and Coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Laboratory
    Aluisio Pimenta,PhD in Environmental Engineering Full-time professor
    Eduardo González, MSChE Part-time lecturer
    Angel Noriega, MEM and BSChE Assistant to the Coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Laboratory
    One undergraduate environmental engineering student Student assistant


    4. Facilities

    The facilities provided for the Environmental Engineering Laboratory courses are located in room L-103. The room is 27 feet wide and 34 feet long, with a separate office (180 square feet) for the laboratory assistant that is equipped with a computer, a printer and closets to store books and documents. Two working tables with drawers and cabinets are available for student work, plus three long counters where equipment and instruments are placed (Figure 1). The room is in compliance with fire protection, as well as with safety and health requirements (Figure 2).


    Figure 1. Environmental Engineering Laboratory facilities



    Figure 2. Safety devices at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory


    5. Measurements and Experiments Conducted

    The two laboratory courses are taught in two weekly sections of two hours, which include lectures and hands-on activities. Procedures and methods for the routines performed are provided in the form of manuals and handouts. All measurements and experiments performed by the students use methods, equipment and instruments which are accepted by regulatory agencies and used in the environmental field practice. Orientation is also provided on report structure and content. Wastewater samples are obtained from the Caguas WWTP, as a courtesy of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewerage Authority. Potable water samples are collected from tap. Soil samples are typical of Puerto Rico, and are previously grinded, screened and dried. Chemicals used are all reagent grade. The laboratory is equipped with water distillation and deionization units. A description of the measurements and experiments performed by the students in each class is presented below:

    5.1. Environmental Engineering Laboratory I (ENVE 5511)

        5.1.1. Meteorological Factors

    In this exercise students collect data from the meteorological station available in the roof of the building, interpret it and report on findings and conclusions related to precipitation and evaporation, wind speed and direction, and atmospheric temperature.

        5.1.2. Color, Turbidity, and Temperature

    Measurements are performed on water samples for temperature, color and turbidity. The relevance of each different physical characteristic on water quality is discussed, and the difference between apparent and actual color is experimentally determined.

        5.1.3. Solids

    Measurements are conducted for total, suspended, and dissolved solids, using gravimetric analysis. The Imhoff cone is used to measure settleable solids. The relevance of these parameters on water quality is discussed, as well as the origin of each different type of solid constituent.

        5.1.4. pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness

    Measurements are conducted for pH, using standard pH meters. Topics discussed include the definition of pH, the physical characteristics of water that affect its value, and the importance of using well calibrated instruments.
    Measurements conducted for water alkalinity use titration with sulfuric acid aided by pH indicators. Topics discussed include the definition of alkalinity, the constituents in water that cause alkalinity, and its relevance for water treatment and water quality.
    Measurements are also conducted for hardness in water, using a titration method. Topics discussed include the definition of hardness, the typical species in water that constitute hardness, and the relevance of hardness for water treatment and water quality.

        5.1.5. Jar Test

    The Jar test procedure is performed for a raw water sample, to detect optimum coagulant and alkalinity requirements for optimum coagulation, flocculation and settling of the respective raw water. The routine includes adequate design, performance and interpretation of the test and the results obtained. The procedure also allows the calculation of design overflow rates for the settling tanks.

        5.1.6. Chlorine and Conductivity

    Electric conductivity of water samples is measured using conductivity meters. The relationship of electric conductivity in water and its dissolved solids content is discussed. Measurements for total and free chlorine in water samples are performed in the same laboratory session, using colorimetric methods. The concepts of chlorine demand, dose, and residual are discussed.

        5.1.7. Dissolved Oxygen

    Measurement of dissolved oxygen content in water samples are performed using a colorimetric method. Emphasis is placed on the need for proper sampling procedure to be adopted in the field to assure representative measurements. The importance of oxygen in water bodies is discussed.

        5.1.8. Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)

    COD is measured for wastewater samples, using a colorimetric measurement of chemically oxidized samples. The concept of COD is discussed, as well as the water constituents that may potentially contribute to COD.
    BOD is measured for wastewater samples using a respirometric procedure, which incubates samples at 20oC. The concepts of BOD and BOD5 are discussed, as well as the water constituents that may potentially contribute to BOD. The difference between COD and BOD is well established

        5.1.9. Microbiological Characteristics of Water

    Measurements are conducted to determine the microbiological characteristics of both potable water and wastewater. The Presence/Absence measurement is performed on tap water samples to detect the presence of coliform species, which would render the water not potable. The measurement of the most probable number (MPN) of microorganism colonies in wastewater samples is also performed. This measurement is required to determine WWTP effluent compliance with NPDES permits.

    5.2. Environmental Engineering Laboratory II (ENVE 5513)

        5.2.1. Solid Waste measurements: Characterization and physical properties

    Solid waste samples are collected by the students and characterized in a two session module. The sample is first characterized with respect to the fraction of each type of waste present, both organic and inorganic nature. Ana apparent density is then measured for each fraction, to determine the space occupied by each fraction relative to each other. Measurements are then performed for moisture content, dry mass and ash content for food waste and paper samples.

        5.2.2. Wastewater measurements: Chemical Methods and Atomic Absorption

    Measurements are conducted on water samples for the detection of metals and ions in a two session module. The first module uses wet chemistry methods combined with spectophotometric detection. The second method uses atomic absorption, with special emphasis on the development of calibration curves.

        5.2.3. Measurement of Ambient Air Particulates

    Air particulates in air are measured using membrane filtration coupled with gravimetric determination. This routine is useful for characterization of both ambient and atmospheric air samples.

        5.2.4. Measurement of soil physicochemical properties: Organic matter content and pH

    Two physicochemical properties of a typical soil from Puerto Rico are measured in these two modules. First, the organic matter content of the soil is measured by incineration combined with gravimetric measurements. Then, the pH of the soil sample is measured by the mass titration method.

        5.2.5. Adsorption Experiment

    The adsorption isotherm of an organic compound on activated carbon is measured using the bottle-point method. Students prepare the reactors and place them on rotators for equilibrium. Liquid phase concentrations are measured by UV spectrophotometry. Solid phase concentrations are obtained by mass balances. Emphasis is given to determination of calibration curves. The isotherm data is fitted to adsorption models using linearization methods and regression analysis. Due to its length, this experimental procedure takes two sessions of two hours each, plus one session for discussion of theory and methods for data analysis.

        5.2.6. Microbial Characteristics of Water

    The heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) is measured for a wastewater sample, using filtration, followed by plate growth and microscopic reading.

        5.2.7. Chromatography

    Volatile organic compounds are measured in water samples by Gas Chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID) and Non-volatile organic compounds are measured by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with UV detection.

        5.2.8. Head Loss Through Porous Media

    To develop pressure drop profiles (hL vs. filter depth) for different filtration velocities (vf). To model the pressure drop through the column as a function of filtration velocity using the equation: Collect all the data using the excel program and present a graph containing the profiles for head loss as a function of filter depth having filtration velocity as a parameter; and finally calculate the constant for the hydraulic model (k1 and k2).

        5.3. Evaluation

    The basic instruments for evaluation of both laboratory courses are exams and experimental reports. The exams evaluate the knowledge of the students on background information in the subjects composing the course, on experimental procedures and methods, and/or calculations and models used. The reports include presentation of background information, methods and materials, examples of calculations, statistical and error analysis, and presentation and discussion of results. Report presentation is also evaluated. Photographs of students working during laboratory sessions are presented in Figure 3.


    Figure 3. Students performing laboratory work


    6. Equipment Maintenance and Calibration

    To the extent possible, maintenance and calibration of equipment and instrumentation is performed by laboratory assisting personnel. When required, supplier representatives are called in for maintenance or calibration.

    7. Equipment

    Figures 4 to 13 show the main equipment and instrumentation used at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory.


    Figure 4. Meteorological Station



    Figure 5. pH Meter, turbidimeter, conductivity meter, Hach spectrophotometer, centrifuge, and air pump



    Figure 6. Filtration unit and Balances



    Figure 7. Microscopes, respirometer (BOD), digestion unit (COD), and incubator (PA/MPN)



    Figure 8. Oven and Furnace



    Figure 9. Jar Test equipment



    Figure 10. Atomic absorption equipment and spectrophotometer



    Figure 11. Liquid chromatography equipment and gas chromatograph



    Figure 12. Filtration Column and Air Monitor



    Figure 13. BOD Apparatus
  • Department Labs
  • Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory
  • 1. Introduction

    Soils are engineering materials usually formed under random and extremely variable circumstances, which make them rather difficult to characterize for design purposes. Consequently, it has been necessary to standardize laboratory tests to measure the engineering properties of soils with an acceptable rate of accuracy.

    The concepts discussed in the theoretical geotechnical engineering courses are reinforced through the direct measurement of soil properties, thus having a direct effect on the student as follows:

    1. Better understanding of the differences between soil types through result comparison and analysis.

    2. More accurate assessment of the limitations involved when considering the soil-structure interaction in design.

    3. Better knowledge of the local soil conditions and the effect of moisture changes and other factors on soil strength.

    The Geotechnical Engineering component of the Civil Engineering undergraduate program at PUPR consists of two theoretical and two laboratory courses that are to be carried out in two consecutive terms as follows:

    First Term
    Geotechnical Engineering I      (CE 4202) Geotechnical Engineering I Lab (CE 4203)

    Second Term
    Geotechnical Engineering II      (CE 4204) Geotechnical Engineering II Lab (CE 4205)

    The classes meet for two hours twice a week. Safety and test procedure briefs are followed by a Power Point presentation of the test, the students are provided with handouts to follow the test presentations.

    The Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory has multiple (usually, four to five) sets of equipment meeting or exceeding industry standards. The laboratory facilities provide enough space for four fully equipped workstations. The laboratory supports the theoretical courses, some elective courses, and research at PUPR.

    2. Enrollment

    The maximum enrollment per course section is 16 students. In each academic term (Fall, Winter, and Spring) two or three sections of the CE 4203 course and two sections of the CE 4205 course are offered.

    3. Staff

    Currently, two instructors teach the Geotechnical Laboratory courses with the assistance of one technician. The qualifications and relevant background data of the staff are shown in the following table:

    Resource Employment status
    Omaira Collazos, PhD of CE Full time professor and Coordinator of the Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory
    José A. Martínez, MSCE Full time professor
    Isabel Lorenzana, MEM and BSCE Assistant to the Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory Coordinator
    Three-person drilling crew Contract with Jaca & Sierra Testing Laboratories Inc., Geotechnical Engineers & Services
    Two undergraduate civil engineering students Student assistants


    4. Facilities

    The laboratory facilities are located in a 25 by 35 feet room that houses three working counters with lower storage compartments and a storage room. Another 12 feet by 45 feet room is dedicated to compaction testing and graduate student work. Figures 1 and 2 show the laboratory facilities. Some of the tests and research activities are carried out around the PUPR campus.


    Figure 1. Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory facilities



    Figure 2. Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory facilities


    5. Tests Conducted and Equipment

    5.1 Geotechnical Engineering I laboratory (CE 4203)

    Following is a description of the tests performed for this course:

    5.1.1 Sub-soil Exploration and Sampling

    The drilling crew performs two boring by means of the Standard Penetration Test (SPT) at the beginning of the term; the retrieved samples are used for testing throughout the term.

    5.1.2 Water Content and Soil Phase Relationships

    The students evaluate the relationships between the three phases that make up a partially saturated soil sample by means of direct measurement of volume, total weight, water content, and specific gravity calculations. The results of the tests are then used to solve a geotechnical engineering problem involving earthwork calculations.

    5.1.3 Consistency Limits

    The students determine the plastic limit, the liquid limit, and the plasticity index of clayey soil samples; the plasticity index value is used to have an idea of the swelling potential of the soil.

    5.1.4 Mechanical Grain Size Distribution

    The students perform the mechanical grain size distribution of a sandy sample and use the results to determine whether the sample is suitable for use as fine aggregate for a concrete mix (ASTM C-33).

    5.1.5 Washed Grain Size Distribution

    The students perform a washed grain size distribution of the same sample used for the consistency limits test.

    5.1.6 Soil Classification

    The results of the consistency and washed grain size distribution tests are combined to classify the fine soil sample as per the Unified and AASHTO systems.

    5.1.7 Compaction Test

    The maximum dry density and the optimum moisture content of a soil sample are determined by means of a Modified Proctor Test. The trend of the relationship between the water content and the dry density values is established by mixing the soil with a minimum of five different amounts of water.

    5.1.8 Field Density

    The field density of a sample retrieved from the PUPR campus is determined using the sand cone method; that value is used to determine the degree of compaction of the sample.

    5.1.9 Falling Head Permeability Test

    The hydraulic conductivity of a sandy sample is determined by means of a falling head test; the result is used to estimate the amount of seepage underneath a concrete dam. The effect of sample handling on void ratio and on the hydraulic conductivity value is discussed. An additional permeability test is conducted on a finer sample to demonstrate the significant (order of magnitude) reduction in hydraulic conductivity for fine soils.

    Figures 3 through 10 show the available equipment and the tests performed as part of this course.


    Figure 3. Soil sample retrieved by Standard Penetration Tests at PUPR campus



    Figure 4. Water content determinations



    Figure 5. Consistency limits



    Figure 6. Washed grain size distributions



    Figure 7. Mechanical grain size distributions



    Figure 8. Modified Proctor test



    Figure 9. Field dry density



    Figure 10. Falling head permeameter


    5.2 Geotechnical Engineering II Laboratory (CE 4205)

    The following tests are performed as part of this course:

    5.2.1 Sub-soil Exploration and Sample – Soil Profile

    Soil samples are obtained at the PUPR campus by means of the Standard Penetration Test, (SPT) from two borings to a depth of between 16 and 20 feet, the cohesive nature of the soils allows for high sample recovery yielding good, non-fractured specimens.

    Each of the teams of this course is in charge of performing the following tests on one of the specimens: moist and dry unit weight, water content, consistency limits, and washed grain size distribution. The data is shared with the rest of the teams of the other sections after being reviewed by the instructors.

    The students prepare a 17 in by 11 in soil profile depicting the variation of the geotechnical properties of the soil with the results from all the teams.

    5.2.2 Consolidation test

    A saturated fine soil sample, retrieved using a thin wall (Shelby) tube, is subjected to increasing vertical overburden for five days; the teams collect and share the sample deformation data.

    An application problem is solved using the test results to estimate the amount and rate of consolidation settlement induced by an axial load on a rectangular footing.

    5.2.3 Unconfined Compression Test

    A cohesive soil sample obtained at the PUPR campus by means of the Standard Penetration Test (SPT) is subjected to unconfined compression in order to determine its consistency, its modulus of elasticity, and the value of Poisson’s ratio at the peak value.

    The test results are used to estimate the immediate/elastic settlement underneath a rigid concrete footing due to axial loading.

    5.2.4 Direct Shear Test

    A direct shear test is performed on a dry, cohesionless sandy soil sample in order to determine the value of its angle of internal friction, ?.

    The unit weight of the soil sample is determined using a cylindrical mold; the results are used to evaluate the overturning moment due to soil pressure on a gravity wall.

    5.2.5 Triaxial Compression Test

    A triaxial compression test under unconsolidated/undrained (UU) conditions is performed on cohesive soil samples in order to determine its cohesion and internal angle of friction values. The results are used to determine the factor of safety against sliding for a slope.

    5.2.6 Hydrometer Test

    A hydrometer test is performed on a fine clayey soil sample in conjunction with a washed grain size distribution in order to determine the clay fraction of the sample.
    Consistency test results are provided to the students so they can combine with the test results to estimate the swelling potential of the soil sample.

    Figures 11 through 21 depict the available equipment and the tests performed as part of this course.


    Figure 11. Unconfined compression test on sample retrieved by STP



    Figure 12. Determination of sample dimensions



    Figure 13. Soil grinder for subsoil evaluation



    Figure 14. Reading of consolidation sample deformation



    Figure 15. Sample at the end of the consolidation test



    Figure 16. Unconfined compression test apparatus



    Figure 17. Direct shear test apparatus



    Figure 18. Preparation of soil sample for direct shear test



    Figure 19. Triaxial compression test apparatus



    Figure 20. Triaxial compression test equipment with automatic data acquisition system



    Figure 21. Hydrometer test


    6. Equipment Maintenance and Calibration

    All the major equipment of the laboratory is periodically maintained by the staff and calibrated by external resources. The major equipment includes two triaxial test apparatus, two direct shear apparatus, two unconfined compression machine, three ovens, and two consolidation test stations.
  • Department Labs
  • Highway and Transportation Engineering Laboratory
  • 1. INTRODUCTION

    The Highway and Transportation Engineering Laboratory is focused in data collection techniques and use of equipment and computer software associated with different types of transportation studies in which application of statistics and probability to analyze, interpret, manage and present transportation data is required. It supports the courses CE 4304 (Highway and Transportation Engineering II), CE 4306 (Highway and Transportation Engineering III), and CE 4307 (Highway and Transportation Engineering Laboratory) and is also used for research purposes.

    The transportation engineering component of the Civil Engineering undergraduate program at PUPR consists of three theoretical and one laboratory course that are to be carried out in three consecutive terms as follows:

    First
    Term CE-4302
    (Highway and Transportation Engineering I)

    Second Term
    CE-4304
    (Highway and Transportation Engineering II)

    Third Term
    CE-4306
    (Highway and Transportation Engineering III)
    CE-4307
    (Highway and Transportation Engineering Lab)

    1.1 Typical Enrollment

    The table below shows the quarterly enrollment for the highway and transportation engineering laboratory course during de academic year 2011-12:

    CE-4307 (Highway and
    Transportation Engineering
    Laboratory)
    First Term Second Term Third Term
    Section
    29
    Section
    30
    15 12
    Section
    29
    Section
    31
    20 21
    Section
    29
    Section
    31
    16 18


    The highway and transportation engineering laboratory supports the theoretical courses: CE 4304 and CE 4306, and research at PUPR.

    1.2 Staff

    During the academic year 2011-12, two professors taught the laboratory course with the assistance of one technician. Nevertheless, six professors are available on a regular basis to teach this course with the assistance of one technician. The qualifications and relevant background data of the personnel are shown in the following table:

    Resource Major Employment Rank
    Amado Vélez, MSCE, PE
    University of Texas at Austin
    Transportation Engineering Full time professor Associate Department Head Associate Professor
    Ginger Rossy, PhD (c), EIT University of Missouri Transportation Engineering Full time professor Assistant Professor
    Juan Carlos Rivera, MSCE, PE University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Transportation Engineering Part time professor Lecturer II
    Luis Sánchez, MSCE, PE University of Texas at Austin Transportation Engineering Part time professor Lecturer II
    Francisco Reyes, MS, EIT University of Puerto Rico Urban Planning Part time professor Lecturer II
    Ileana Meléndez, BSCE Civil Engineering Laboratory Assistant n/a


    2. FACILITIES

    The laboratory facilities are located in room L-411 that houses 20 computer work stations and one storage room. Figures 1 and 2 show a class section at the laboratory facilities.


    Figure 1: North-East side of the laboratory



    Figure 2: South-West side of the laboratory


    3. TESTS CONDUCTED

    The classes meet for four hours once a week or for two hours twice a week; safety and field test procedure briefs are followed by a presentation of the test. The students are provided with the required software to perform the data analysis of the respective tests.

    The following topics are covered as part of the laboratory course:

    A. Volume Studies:
    • Purpose and applications
    • Methods of counting and equipment use
    • Field Procedures
    • Data analysis
    B. Intersection Counts:
    • Count periods
    • Manual data collection techniques
    • Automatic data collection and use of equipment
    • Data conversion and presentation
    • Data analysis
    C. Intersection Delay and Saturation Flow Measurement:
    • Manual procedure
    • Mechanical procedures and use of equipment
    D. Arrivals and Departures:
    • Data collection techniques
    • Application of distribution probability models
    E. Traffic Control Devices:
    • Equipment and applications
    • Use of equipment
    • Field inspection
    F. Transportation Planning Data:
    • Area definition and zoning
    • Data collection and forecasting techniques
    • Data analysis
    G. Parking Studies

    4. EQUIPMENT

    The laboratory is equipped with the following items:
    • 20 High End Desktop Computers
    • 1 Digital Projector
    • 1 Digital Video Camera
    • 18 Traffic Tally Counters
    • 10 Portable Automatic Traffic Counters
    All the major equipment of the lab is periodically maintained by the staff.
    Figures 3 to 6 show some of the equipment and tools used in the laboratory.


    Figure 3: Traffic tally counter



    Figure 4: Automatic traffic counter



    Figure 5: Installation tools



    Figure 6: Installation of road tube

  • Department Labs
  • Mechanics of Materials Laboratory


  • 1. Introduction

    The main objective of the Mechanics of Materials Laboratory is to provide students the opportunity to perform laboratory tests over structural elements that help them visualize the member behavior and validate the theoretical response presented in the corresponding courses. The Mechanics of Materials Laboratory also allows students to perform undergraduate and graduate research projects related to structural member behavior, and give support to some extracurricular activities, such as the competitions organized by the student chapters of professional societies (i.e. the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers).

    The Mechanics of Materials Laboratory Course is designed to help students understand the mechanics of deformable bodies, complementing the courses of Mechanics of Materials I and II. The laboratory has several devices that allow verifying theoretical results with simple laboratory experiences on bars elements under different load conditions (axial tension, axial compression, torsion, and flexion). The students apply loads and measure deflections, angles of twist, support reactions, internal forces, and strains as the structural response of interest under the specified applied loads.

    2. Enrollment

    The maximum enrollment of the Mechanics of Materials Laboratory Course is 16 students. In each academic term (Fall, Winter, and Spring) two or three sections of the course are offered, according to student demand.

    3. Staff

    The laboratory is coordinated by one fulltime faculty members, with the assistance of one technician. Two undergraduate students are usually assigned to assist with the equipment setup and laboratory maintenance. Two faculty members are assigned to the laboratory course offering each quarter. The qualifications and relevant background data of the staff are shown in the following table:

    Table 1: Mechanics of Materials Laboratory Staff
    Resource Employment status
    Gustavo Pacheco-Crosetti, PhD, PE Full time professor and Coordinator of the Mechanics of Materials Laboratory
    Manuel Coll-Borgo, PhD, PE Part time lecturer
    Juan García-Uriarte, MSCE, PE Part time lecturer
    Cesar Soto-Rodriguez, MSCE, PE Part time lecturer
    Salvador Montilla, BSEE Assistant to the Coordinator of the Mechanics of Materials Laboratory
    Two undergraduate civil engineering students Student assistants


    4. Facilities

    The laboratory facilities are located in a 25 by 35 feet room (adjacent to the Structural Engineering Laboratory) that house four working stations, each one with a PC computer, a set of the laboratory equipment, and four lab stools. The laboratory also counts with a projector and a faculty pc (to allow PowerPoint like and video presentations), and two large closet compartments to store the equipment.

    5. Conducted Tests

    The classes meet for two hours twice a week. The students work in teams of four members, each team in one workstation. The laboratory background, educational objectives, and procedures are introduced during the first meeting of the week. Then, then the students perform the corresponding tests and develop the results analysis and interpretation, and the corresponding lab report. The following list summarizes the tests that are conducted during the laboratory course.
    • Measurement of modulus of elasticity (tension test).
    • Torsion in rods of different cross sectional shapes.
    • Internal shear force and shear diagram on simple beams.
    • Internal bending moment and bending moment diagram on simple beams.
    • Shear center on thin walled open cross section members.
    • Electronic measurement of strain under bending and torsional loads.
    • Column buckling with different support conditions.
    • Simple beam deflections.
    • Simple trusses and simple frames deflections.
    • Special class projects.
    6. Equipment Images and Brief Description

    The following images present the equipment used for the laboratory experiences.

    The Instron Hydraulic Universal Testing Machine (Figure 1), shared with the Construction Materials laboratory, is used to perform a tension test over calibrated specimens, in order to obtain the material modulus of elasticity.


    Figure 1: Tension Test Machine


    Figure 2 presents the equipment used to perform the electronic measurement of strains on cantilever elements subjected to bending and torsional loads (manufacturer: Hi-Tech Scientific).


    Figure 2: Electronic Measurement of Strains


    Figures 3 to 5 present schematics of the workstation used for all of the remaining tests (manufacturer: TQ Education and Training). It consists of a testing frame (where the specimens are mounted), a data acquisition system (DAS) that collects the measurements in an electronic way, and a PC to display the DAS input in real time. Students also perform measures using manual instruments (dial gages, calibrated weights, calipers, among others).


    Figure 3: Structures Test frame (TQ)



    Figure 4: Digital Force Display (TQ)



    Figure 5: PC and DAS (TQ)


    Figures 6 to 9 presents the actual workstation with the equipment mounted to perform several tests, as described by each picture caption.


    Figure 6: Deflection of Beams Equipment



    Figure 7: Buckling of Columns Equipment



    Figure 8: Torsion of Circular Bars Equipment



    Figure 9: Shear Force Diagram Equipment



    Figure 10: Bending Moment Diagram Equipment



    Figure 11: Shear Center Equipment
  • Department Labs
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering Simulations Laboratory


  • 1. Introduction

    The Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department Simulations Laboratory opened its facilities in the room L-410 in 1999. Throughout time due to the increasing student’s demands, the laboratory has experienced some changes, in term of space, hardware, and software. Presently, the laboratory is divided in three areas: a) the hardware area, where the computers and printers are located (Figure 1), b) the laboratory assistant’s office, and c) three rooms used by senior students of both Civil and Environmental Engineering Capstone Design courses (Figure 2).


    Figure 1. CEE Simulations Laboratory (Computers room)



    Figure 2. CEE Simulations Laboratory (Capstone Design rooms)


    The laboratory has four main uses:

    1. A computer center for the civil and environmental engineering undergraduate and graduate students.

    2. A classroom with computers for presentations made by professors and students.

    3. A meeting room for students taking the Capstone Design courses.

    4. A computer center and meeting area for Civil Engineering graduate students.

    The CEE Simulation Laboratory mainly serves the undergraduate CE core courses, as well as several undergraduate ENVE and graduate CE courses. The Laboratory is open Mondays thru Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 11:30 PM, Fridays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

    2. Staff

    Professor Alberto Guzmán, Ph.D. in CE, and Professor Ileana Meléndez, MEM and BSCE, are in charge of the CEE Simulations Laboratory. One undergraduate student assists them. Each quarter, several professors of the CEE Department teach their courses in the laboratory to use the computer facilities. Each year, various seminars are offered to students using the laboratory facilities.

    3. Equipment and Software

    Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the main equipment and software currently available at CEE Simulations Laboratory.

    Table 1: Basic hardware available at CEE Simulation Laboratory

    Equipment Quantity Model
    Desktop Computers 30 DELL Precision T5500
    Desktop Computers 3 Dell Optiplex 780
    Printer 1 HP Laser Jet 5000
    Printer 1 Toshiba eStudio 500P
    Plotter 1 OCE CS236
    Projector 1 Panasonic LB75NT XGA


    Table 2: Basic Software available at CEE Simulation Laboratory

    General Programs Quantity Company
    Microsoft Windows 7 Site License Microsoft
    Microsoft Office 2010 Site License Microsoft
    Math Cad 14 Site License Math Soft
    Auto CAD 2007 Site License Auto Desk
    Land Development 2007 Site License Auto Desk
    McAfee Antivirus Site License McAfee
    Water Resources Engineering Programs Quantity Company
    HEC-1 Unlimited U.S Corps of Engineers
    HEC-2 Unlimited U.S. Corps of Engineers
    HEC-RAS Unlimited U.S. Corps of Engineers
    Storm Cad 30 Haestad
    Water Cad 30 Haestad
    Flow Master 30 Haestad
    Culvert Master 30 Haestad
    Structural Engineering Programs Quantity Company
    SAFE 35 CSI
    ETABS 35 CSI
    SAP2000 35 CSI
    ANSYS 10 Ansys
    Midas 10 Midas
    Transportation Engineering Programs Quantity Company
    Conspan 5 Conspan
    Geotechnical Engineering Programs Quantity Company
    GEOPRO 5
    GEOCAL 5
    GLOG 5
    GEO SLOPE 30 Scientific
    Apile, LPile, Shaft 1 (10 users) Ensoft
    Construction Engineering Programs Quantity Company
    Primavera Site License Agreement ORACLE
    MS Project Site License Microsoft
    Suretrack Unlimited Demo Version Primavera



    Figure 3. CEE Simulations Laboratory Printer



    Figure 4. CEE Simulations Laboratory Plotter


    Every quarter, the software is revised for updates and license renewal, and every three years the laboratory computers are updated to the latest in the market, as per laboratory necessity. This is one way to guarantee that our students are receiving, in a reasonable time intervals, the state of the art in computer technologies.
  • Department Labs
  • Structural Engineering Laboratory


  • 1. Introduction

    The developing of any structural analysis and design process requires a clear understanding of the structural behavior, and the hypothesis and limitations of the analytical models adopted for such tasks. The Structural Engineering Laboratory provides students the opportunity to perform laboratory tests over structural models and elements that help them visualize the structural behavior and validate the theoretical response presented in the corresponding courses.

    The Structural Engineering Laboratory is prepared to support and complement undergraduate and graduate courses of Civil Engineering, such as Statics, Mechanics of Materials, Structural Analysis, Structural Steel Design, Structural Concrete Design, Masonry Design, among others.

    The Structural Engineering Laboratory also allows students to perform undergraduate and graduate research projects related to structural and member behavior, and to structural damages evaluation, and gives support to some extracurricular activities, such as the competitions organized by the student chapters of professional societies (i.e. the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers).

    2. Staff

    The laboratory is coordinated by one fulltime faculty members, with the assistance of one technician. All the Structural Engineering Faculty members made use of the laboratory either to develop special laboratory experiences to complement/enhance their theoretical courses, or to support the research activities of their supervised students. The qualifications and relevant background data of the staff are shown in the following table:

    Resource Employment status
    Gustavo Pacheco-Crosetti, PhD, PE Full time professor and Coordinator of the Structural Engineering Laboratory
    Salvador Montilla, BSEE Assistant to the Coordinator of the Structural Engineering Laboratory


    3. Facilities

    The laboratory facilities are located in a 25 by 35 feet room, adjacent to the Mechanics of Materials Laboratory, and connected to the Construction Material Laboratory. The room houses the laboratory equipment (described in section 4), and has one large closet compartment to store supplementary equipment, and two small closet compartments to store several of the most sensitive testing equipment.

    4. Equipment and Brief Description of Tests

    This section presents images of the equipment available at the Structural Engineering Laboratory, and a brief description of some of their uses.

    Figure 1 shows a test frame (manufacturer: Hi-Tech; model: Magnus) with two hydraulic jacks with capacity of 50 KN (11.5 kips) each. This frame may be used to show the behavior of simple structures such as trusses (as shown in Figure 2), beams, small frames, etc. This equipment is frequently used in several undergraduate courses, such as the Construction Materials Laboratory, the Mechanics of Materials courses, the Structural Analysis courses, the Capstone Design courses. Undergraduate and graduate students also use this device to perform their research projects, performing strength analysis and behavior of small non-scaled elements, as depicted in Figures 3 to 8.

    This test frame is complemented with a data acquisition system (DAS), with the corresponding electronic sensors for load, strain, deflection and temperature. Other mechanical sensors are also available, such as dial gauges of 1”, 2”, and 3” of displacement, and two load rings with capacity of 10 Kips.


    Figure 1: Test Frame and Hydraulic Jacks



    Figure 2: Truss Instrumented with Dial Gauges and Strain Gauges and DAS



    Figure 3: Testing of a Reinforced Concrete Beam



    Figure 4: Testing of a Reinforced Concrete T-Beam



    Figure 5: Testing of a Reinforced Masonry Beam



    Figure 6: Testing of a Steel Beam Instrumented with Dial Gages, Strain Gages and a DAS



    Figure 7: Testing of a Wood Specimen



    Figure 8: Testing of a Fiber-Reinforced Wood Specimen


    The laboratory has also four (4) small testing frames that allow performing load tests over small-scaled structures; these experiences may be used to support the theory of structural lectures with experiments. In these structures the student can corroborate the theory, and visualize the structural behavior emphasized in the corresponding course. Figure 9 shows the analysis of a continuous steel beam, and Figure 10 the analysis of a portal steel frame.

    In both examples the deflected shape with the inflection points can be appreciated. The corresponding vertical displacements and joint rotations in the beam, or the horizontal drift in the frame, are measured and compared to the results from the theoretical analysis.


    Figure 9: Testing Frame with Continuous Beam



    Figure 10: Testing Frame with Portal Frame


    The laboratory has also a device for the analysis of a two-way slab. Senior and graduate students use this equipment to analyze the behavior of a two-way under punctual loads, measuring its deflection and changing the support (boundary) conditions and the load pattern. The experimental results are compared with the results of a computerized analysis by means of the Finite Element Method (i.e. using SAP2000 or Visual Analysis programs). Figure 11 shows this equipment and its instrumentation.


    Figure 11: Two-way Slab Testing Device


    The Laboratory is also equipped with small scale models, fully instrumented, of typical structures such as trusses (Figure 12) and arches (Figure 13). These models are mounted within a test frame (shared with the Mechanics of Materials Laboratory) that has a DAS to receive the input from the electronic transducers, and is connected to a PC that receives the data from the DAS.


    Figure 12: Fully Instrumented Small Scale Truss



    Figure 13: Fully Instrumented Small Scale Arch


    The laboratory has equipment to perform special studies on structures, structural elements, and member materials, such as the concrete moisture meter (used to measure moisture content in concrete floors and screeds without drilling) shown in Figure 14, and the ultrasonic tester (used to determine the uniformity and quality of concrete and presence of defects, cracks and voids, modulus of elasticity and concrete strength) shown in Figure 15.

    Figure 16 shows examples of the support mechanical and carpenter equipment that is available in the lab.


    Figure 14: Concrete Moisture Meter



    Figure 15: Ultrasonic Tester



    Figure 16: Carpenter and Mechanical Tools


    The following figures show the use of the laboratory for extracurricular projects (such as the design of a concrete canoe, Figure 17), and special class projects, such as the student proposal and development of devices that shows a particular structural behavior (portal frame, Figure 18) or concept (modal shapes and periods of vibration of multiple degree of freedom systems, Figure 19).


    Figure 17: Use of Lab Facilities for an Extracurricular Activity - Concrete Canoe Development



    Figure 18: Student Developed Device to Show Portal Frame Behavior



    Figure 19: Student Developed Device to Show Vibration Modes and Natural Periods of a Two DOF System

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