The Wisconsin Structures & Materials Testing Laboratory provides UW-Madison engineering students and faculty, as well as industry professionals, access to equipment and technical support for testing material specimens and full-scale structural components. The purpose of the lab is to enhance the teaching and research experience that UW engineering programs offer through the ability to perform hands-on experimental testing techniques. The lab will serve the structural engineering program which is part of UW-Madison’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and will ensure UW continues its long history as a leader in engineering fields.
The new lab provides a specially constructed high-strength floor and multistory post-tensioned reaction wall with a grid of high-strength anchors, 20 Ton overhead crane, multi-axis load actuators and access to an exterior that will allow for testing of structural components up to 40 feet in length. It is
only the second of two of these types of wall in the state of Wisconsin.
The new lab boasts a monolithically poured L-shaped concrete post-tensioned reaction wall that is 26’ tall with 10’ deep buttresses, and a 6.5’ thick concrete post-tensioned strong floor. The wall and floor are lined with gridded high-strength anchor points, which are used to connect test specimens and fixtures such as hydraulic actuators for application of a wide variety of forces and displacements. The lab also has a 20-ton overhead crane and opens up to allow access to the outside and the old lab, and enough space to test specimens as long as 40’ making it one of the biggest and strongest in the country.