Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics

Facilities & Resources

Graduate students in this division have available for their use the computational facilities of the College of Engineering and the University. In addition, the following laboratories are maintained by this division for instructional and research purposes:

  • Structural Engineering Laboratory
  • Chester Smith Structures and Materials Laboratory
  • Concrete Materials Laboratory
  • Wood Utilization Laboratory

The Structural Engineering Laboratory located at the Engineering Research Center is home to a uni-axial earthquake simulator (shake table) driven using 40 gallons of accumulation. The shake table boasts a 35,000 lb actuator with 180 gpm hydraulic fluid flow and can reproduce some of the largest earthquakes recorded worldwide (e.g. Northridge 1994 M 6.7). The lab also contains the world’s first spatio-temporal hurricane wind load test facility with seven synchronously controlled dynamic actuators. The facility is currently being linked to state of the art wind tunnels for real time testing. The system is driven by the same hydraulic flow used for the earthquake shake table. The uniqueness of this facility lies not in the actuators, but in the numerical control algorithm that was developed to drive the system. The algorithm is being developed here at CSU using state of the art linear and nonlinear finite element methods. Additional resources available at the Structural Engineering Laboratory include a 24 x 100 ft strong-floor equipped with structural hold-downs, MTS actuators and associated controls, and testing frames constructed for full-scale testing of transmission poles, straight and curved glued-laminated and other beam members, straight and skewed bridges, guardrail systems, and other specimens as needed.

The Chester Smith Structures and Materials Laboratory and Concrete Laboratory on the main campus contain a wide range of testing equipment, including a 100-kip MTS closed-loop testing machine. The Wood Utilization Laboratory has been home to a wide array of research in wood engineering and includes a 50-kip Instron machine, a full-scale tension machine, and modem data acquisition equipment. Large-scale experimental work in structural engineering also includes field testing of bridges.

While studying computational mechanics, students have access to outstanding computer facilities. Housed directly in the civil and environmental engineering wing of the Engineering Building are two computer laboratories which give students access to a wide variety of microcomputers ranging from state-of-the-art PCs to computationally powerful workstations. Computers in these laboratories are part of the local area network in the College of Engineering.