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UTSA Lab Brings Large-Scale Engineering Testing to Campus

The Large-Scale Testing Laboratory will enable civil engineering students and academics at the University of Texas at San Antonio to test the structural integrity of systems in a 50-foot-tall facility.

USTA's Large-Scale Testing Laboratory

The University of Texas at San Antonio has opened a Large-Scale Testing Laboratory to give student and faculty researchers a 50-foot-tall facility to test the structural integrity of systems. The $9.95 million facility will allow students and researchers to test components and systems at near 100 percent scale in a 15,000-square-foot space.

The lab replaces a facility in USTA's College of Engineering that was small with "low capacity of the reaction floor, and the lack of a crane made it very difficult to perform research," according to Adolfo Matamoros, a civil engineering professor at UTSA.

In 2017, UTSA broke ground on a $95 million Science and Engineering Building (SEB) with labs, classrooms and collaborative spaces for the university's academic and research programs in brain health, chemical engineering, biology and chemistry. The SEB is a 153-square-foot building that is slated to open in 2020. 

Part of the grant to build the SEB was funneled into the Large-Scale Testing Laboratory. The lab building has a 40-by-80-foot reaction floor that gives researchers the ability to test real-size structural systems and components. Researchers can also test up to loads up to 4 million pounds of force on reaction floors that are 3 feet to 5 feet thick.

Video: UTSA's Large-Scale Testing Laboratory

Under the reaction floor, there is a basement structure where researchers can secure test specimens and monitor experiments. There are also two cranes that each have a 30-ton capacity to load, unload and transport heavy specimens that are installed in the facility.

A hydraulic power supply and distribution system gives civil and structural engineers the ability to stimulate high-cycle fatigue, earthquakes and blast loads.

More information about the Large-Scale Testing Lab can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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