Concrete Testing Laboratory

Lab Location: 122 Colton Hall
Lab Director: Dr. Matthew Adams 
Lab Co-Director: Dr. Matthew Bandelt ​


MTS Materials Testing Systems

As part of its teaching and research effort CEE operates several MTS load frame systems. These closed-loop, servohydraulic testing systems are Caddilacs of their kind.

Loads ranges between 50 and 1.2 million pounds are available.   But, it is not the force that makes the systems special, but rather, the delicacy with which the force can be applied.  The million pound machine, and all the others, can crack an unreinforced concrete beam in such a way as to propagate the crack completely through the beam without splitting the beam; a tap with your fingers will finish it off.  This control comes from an ability to choose control methods suitable for the needs of one’s test.  For example one can use the load, or the displacement or the deformation of the specimen to control the machine.  These machines are used in undergraduate Strength of Materials labs as well as labs on the properties of concrete.  They are used for graduate research, one machine having been instrumental in half a dozen PhDs and at least as many Masters Degrees. 

The million pound one has helped one PhD to graduate and has four others in the pipeline.  Finally, research projects ranging from “Fast-Track” concrete (2500 psi in 5 hr.)  to studies of why dental implants loosen and the fatigue strength of roof bolts would have been impossible without these flexible, very precise machines.

Mixing and Aggregate Testing

  • Temperature/Humidity Controlled Curing Rooms
  • 1/4-cu.yd. Mixer
  • 2-cu.ft. Drum Mixer
  • 1-qt, 10-qt. Mortar Mixers
  • Concrete Aggregates Testing Facilities
  • 24-cu.ft. Blue M Oven
  • 6-cu.ft. Temperature Controlled Water Bath

Testing Area

  • Load Floor: 8 ft x 7 ft, 1 1/2-6 sockets on 2-ft centers, 50 kip pullout, 7 1/2- ft overhead clearance
  • 2-ton Manual Overhead Crane
  • Sulfur Capping Fume Hood

1200-kip Very Stiff Load Frame

The king of our testing machines weighs 16,000 pounds and, is used to characterize the properties of concrete and rocks.  It tremendously expands our testing capabilities not only through its strength but also through a collection of load cells and unique extensometers.  It can also be fitted with a 12,000 psi triaxial cell or, a temperature control chamber to further extend its capabilities.  Directed  by a TestStar digital controller the test procedure is limited only by the imagination.

Auxiliary units: 12000-psi triaxial chamber, Temperature Controlled Chamber
Load Ranges (range max.): 1000 kip, 600 kip in triaxial vessel, 200 kip, and 55 kip.
Extensometers (range max.): Dual Averaging, 0.15-in Circumferential, In-vessel Dual Averaging, in-vessel 0.3-in circumferential


100 kip Adjustable Load Frame

The most versatile of our testing fleet, this machine has been the mainstay of our materials testing program for many years.  Accepting specimens up to 7-ft. tall and equipped with auxiliary extensometers and load cells, this machine is able again and again to solve our testing problems. 

This machine is central to our research in high strength concrete, fiber concrete, fly ash concrete, Fast Track concrete, non-symmetric columns and a host of others studies.  This machine is one of only a few in the country that routinely test the direct tensile strength of concrete and concrete composites.

Load Ranges (range max.): 55 kip, 5 kip
Clip Gages (range max.): 0.02 in
Extensometers (range max.): 1.0 in, 0.2 in, 0.1 in.
Other Accessories: Computer Data Acquisition, years of odd fixturing

Research Projects

  • Direct Tension Testing of Concrete
  • High Strength Concrete
  • Fly Ash Concrete
  • Fiber Concrete
  • Fracture Mechanics of Concrete
  • Fast-Track Concrete
  • Triaxial Behavior of High Strength Concrete
  • Post-failure Behavior of Concrete
  • Fatigue Testing of Concrete
  • Polymer Concrete, Behavior of Eccentrically Loaded non-Symmetric Columns
  • Rehabilitation of Concrete Beams using Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic
  • Behavior of Plastic Structures
  • Plastic Reinforcement of Damage Unreinforced Masonry Structures