Structural Engineering Facilities

Bowen Laboratory

The Large Scale Research Laboratory was dedicated on October 3, 2003. The new lab contains powerful hydraulic presses, cranes and other equipment to test parts and materials for buildings, bridges and other structures. With more than 60,000 square feet, it provides up to six times more space than is currently available at Purdue for large-scale testing. Purdue President Martin C. Jischke stated at the lab dedication, "engineers will tell you that it's often critical to test large structures because analyzing small-scale models doesn't always yield precise information about how the full-size versions will perform in the real world. Now we have the world's most modern, well-equipped lab for large-scale testing."

The lab is helping to attract more top engineering researchers to Purdue, as news of the laboratory spreads across universities. Fred Mannering, head of the School of Civil Engineering, said, "there are some incredible people applying for open faculty positions. It's an opportunity of a lifetime to work in a brand new lab of this scale with all the latest equipment." Only five other universities in the country have similar facilities, but none are as modern as Bowen Laboratory.

Karl H. Kettelhut Structural Engineering Laboratory

The Karl H. Kettelhut Structural Engineering Laboratory, located within the School of Civil Engineering Building, is a 500 square meter space with a strong floor designed to resist large vertical and horizontal loads. The laboratory is used by researchers to test structures and structural components, and allow for an improved understanding of structural behavior. Several beams are shown in their setups.

The strong floor, spread over 226 square meters of the laboratory floor area, consists of a 1.8 meter square grid to tie-down and lateral thrust anchors for support of loading frames used for component testing. Each anchor point has a 48-ton capacity. The laboratory can accommodate specimens up to 15 meters long. In addition, the hydraulic system can supply 260 liters per minute.

A complement of servo-hydraulic linear actuators is available to test detailed structural components. Specimens may also be testing using either a 600-kip universal-testing machine that has 7.6-meter vertical clearance or 300-kip servo-hydraulic materials testing system. Modern instrumentation, including a number of multi-channel computer controlled data acquisition systems, is available for measurement and data collection.