News

One of the Best Structural Test Labs in U.S. — Auburn Breaks Ground

November 14, 2019

Auburn University is building a 41,500-square-foot advanced structural testing laboratory for structural engineering research and instruction.

The Advanced Structural Testing Laboratory will include a high-bay lab with specially engineered floors and walls capable of handling extreme structural testing loads; a geotechnical test chamber; a concrete materials research and testing laboratory; a wind testing facility and faculty and graduate student spaces.

The 4,700-cubic-foot geotechnical test chamber will be one of the few across the nation included in a university laboratory. It will allow students and faculty to conduct testing that has only been possible in the field until now on structures such as foundations, anchorages and towers.

The wind testing facility will allow replication of wind loads induced by hurricanes, tornadoes and other extreme wind events on large-scale specimens.

“This outstanding facility enables our researchers to deliver innovative solutions to pressing industry demands — something Auburn does best,” said Christopher Roberts, dean of engineering.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the laboratory will be held on Friday, November 15, located near Auburn University Facilities Management offices. By having a separate location, the Samuel Gin College of Engineering will be able to repurpose the current structural laboratory space in the Harbert Engineering Center for other academic and research programs.

“When you combine the strong floor and strong wall with the geotechnical testing capability and all the other materials testing capabilities, we think this will be one of the best laboratories in the country, if not the best,” said Steve Taylor, associate dean for research in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Auburn University produces more than one third of Alabama’s engineering graduates and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is the largest college on the Auburn University campus with approximately 5,000 undergraduate and 900 graduate students.