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What we do

Civil and Environmental Engineering Laboratories

The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology houses six laboratories in the areas of civil and environmental engineering.


Materials Testing Laboratory

LocationCB01, Level 2, Room 252

This is where undergraduate engineering students are introduced to various mechanical tests on construction materials. The lab is also used extensively by PhD students for their experimental investigations.

The laboratory is equipped with several bench-top and floor mounted universal testing machines (Class A and Class AA). These machines are used for testing a variety of engineering materials and composites under static and cyclic tests. In addition there is a series of digital and analogue instruments, and high-speed data acquisition and control systems. The control system with the testing machines uses TRAPEZUIM X software with many features and has been designed with the student in mind.

The material testing laboratory has been in continuous upgrades to provide engineering students with state-of the art facilities in which to develop their skills.

Some of the universal testing machines frequently used are;

·       AGX50kN 50kN capacity (screw driven)

·       UH-300kN XR (Shimadzu RH30 load frame ) 300kN capacity

·       UH-500kN XR (Shimadzu REH50 load frame ) 500kN capacity

·       UH-2000kN X (Tinius Olsen super ’L’ load frame ) 2000kN capacity

In addition there is a 3000Nm capacity torsion testing machine (RET-300 Shimadzu), impact test machines and hardness testers.

Soils Mechanics Laboratory

LocationCB02, Level 2, Room 11

With the support from industry and the University, the Soils Mechanics Laboratory aims to improve the theory and application of geo-mechanics (soft soils) and geo-environmental engineering. The Soils Mechanics Laboratory is equipped with Automated Triaxial Rig (250kN) for saturated and unsaturated soil samples including stress path options and Bender Element, various sizes of Rowe Cells (up to 250mm), Large Constant Rate of Strain (CRS) Cell (500mm in diameter), Unsaturated Consolidometer with bender element, Standard and Large Direct Shear apparatus, plus a complete set of conventional soil mechanics laboratory facilities. Furthermore, a fully automated high pressure permeability setup (100mm) as well as the Pressure Plate apparatus to measure Soil Water Characteristic Curve (SWCC) are available.  Additionally, the Laboratory is specialised in the field investigation including disturbed and undisturbed sampling.  It is also equipped with inclinometers, spiralometers, pHmeter, and water level sensors. It should be noted that the above laboratory facilities are complemented by advanced computational tools (e.g. PLAXIS 2D/3D, FLAC 2D/3D, GeoStudio, SAP2000, ABAQUS).

Soil pressure testing in the Soil Mechanics Laboratory

Environmental Engineering Laboratories

LocationCB11, Level 12, Rooms 404 - 409

Our Environmental Engineering Laboratories are well equipped with advanced water quality analyses instruments, including: ion chromatography (IC); high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); total/dissolved organic carbon (TOC/DOC) analyser; flow field flow (FFF) fraction; atomic adsorption spectrometer (AAS); microwave plasma – atomic emission spectrometer (MP-AES); liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (LC-MS); UV-analyser; zetasizer; fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; particle size analyser; and contact angle measurement instruments.

A number of research activities occur in these laboratories, such as solid liquid separation and filtration technologies in water treatment; innovative biological treatment systems for wastewater treatment; membrane hybrid and nano-technology systems in water, wastewater, and stormwater treatment; water reuse and desalination; ground water remediation; and bio-solid and waste management. We also provide consultation on the above-mentioned areas.

Structures Laboratory

LocationCB02, Level 1, Room 120


Static Testing

This is where we break things. Static testing usually involves larger specimens testing as well as more complex test set-ups.  Classes are run in this laboratory to give a visual learning environment by physically breaking things such as concrete beams with different properties. Loads of up to 100 tonnes per load point (multiple load points are possible) can be achieved, strokes/deflections of up to 1000mm, testing in the order of millions of cycles (cyclic/fatigue), or multi axis loading where control of load is needed in more than one direction, and long term testing are all possible.

Multiple loading frames are present, and a large variety of test sensors and acquisition systems (Load Cells, Displacement devices, Strain Gauges, Rotation measuring devices, Remote and long term logging equipment, High channel count acquisition systems, Purpose designed Acquisition Programs to display live data etc) all allow great flexibility in the range of test setups possible.

Dynamic and Seismic Testing

This is where we shake things. The shake table in the structures lab is a high performance uniaxial table built by MTS with adaptive controlling and hydraulic bearings to give very precise control on the response of the table. A large variety of sensors that measure force, displacements, strain, rotation and acceleration allow for all sorts of measurement. A payload of up to 10 tonne is achievable, with accelerations of up to 2.5g and displacements of up to 200mm. Generally it is used for seismic testing but other high frequency applications are commonly performed. Many techniques such as frequency analysis, modal analysis, damage detection research (in development), and more are used to analyse the dynamic behavior of specimens.

A number of high speed data acquisition systems allow for high channel counts up to 80 channels, high speed sampling up to 3GS/s, high precision acquisition up to 24 bits, and a large range of accelerometers and impact devices are at hand to provide feedback/data for the testing above.

Hydraulics Laboratory

LocationCB02, Level 1, Room 114

This main function of this laboratory is to apply hydraulic modelling, analysis, and field testing expertise to the solution of water resources, hydraulics, and fluid mechanics problems. Our work is focused on running practical classes for undergraduate students in the area of fluid mechanics and hydraulics and hydrology, managing and conserving water resources, constructing and maintaining essential infrastructure, and protecting and improving the environment.

Concrete and Mortar Laboratory

LocationCB02, Level 1, Room 116

The aim of this laboratory is to develop innovative work in the field of material and structural behaviour of civil engineering constructions, in close cooperation with industry. It is used for teaching and tutoring of undergraduate and postgraduate students in the areas of durability and use of waste materials in cement and concrete and fibre reinforced concrete, to name a few. The laboratory is well equipped with concrete testing equipment as well as equipment that can be used to conduct non-standard testing for research purposes.