WTI Research Laboratories

A suite of laboratories to support our research work.

Subzero Research Laboratory

The Cold Climate Operations and Systems has made use of this lab, in particular with the following projects.

For this project we evaluated the Lufft MARWIS and the Teconer RCM411 sensors. The study focused on each sensor’s ability to detect water film/ice depth (testing occurred at 28°F and -20°F), friction (testing occurred at 28°F), surface temperature (testing occurred at 28°F), and road condition/surface state (testing occurred at 28°F). For both sensors, the response time for data reporting was almost immediate (0 to 4 seconds), and the sensors detected greater water depth on the concrete samples than on the asphalt samples.
• View the WTI project page for more information.
• The full research report can be found here.
• This project utilized the cold lab space, variable temperature settings, and trafficking machine located in the cold lab.

For this project laboratory analysis of potassium succinate (KSu) was conducted to assess the feasibility of use as a roadway deicer. Laboratory analysis included modified SHRP ice-melting testing, a differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) thermogram, and friction measurements to quantify performance. The overall results indicate that the performance of KSu is similar to that of NaCl at improving friction on roadways during snow and ice conditions. The results of DSC suggest that KSu can be applied as a roadway deicer at -5°C (23°F) and above. However, KSu does not function as a deicer at colder temperatures where salt brine will work (the generally agreed upon lowest working temperature for salt brine is 15°F [-9.5°C]). The results of the laboratory testing show that KSu functions as a roadway deicer with slightly lower ice-melting rates than salt brine.
View the WTI project page for more information.
The research report can be found here.
   http://cem.uaf.edu/media/258373/Alt-Deicer_CESTiCC_Final-Report.pdfThe project utilized the cold lab space to conduct ice melting testing and performance testing (as friction) using the trafficking machine in the cold lab.

For this project we investigated the role complex chloride /mineral (CCM) and agro-based products may have in deicing and corrosion protection. To do this a literature review and national survey were conducted to identify potential products, how they are typically used, performance characteristics, and pros and cons. Ten products were selected for extensive laboratory testing which investigated the products ability to lower the freezing point of water and improve the ice melting capacity, weaken the ice bond to pavement, improve the product longevity on the road surface, prevent ice formation or refreeze prevention, and assess the influence of absorbance of sunlight on product performance. Results of the laboratory testing and literature review were used to develop a best practices manual.
• View the WTI project page for more information.
• The research report can be found here. http://clearroads.org/project/13-02/
• The project utilized multiple chambers within the SubZero cold lab complex to conduct ice melting testing, effects of UV on ice melting, variable temperature settings, and performance testing using the trafficking machine in the cold lab.

Materials Laboratory

The Materials lab provides a place to test the mechanical properties of a variety of innovative materials used in transportation construction, such as geosynthetics or green highway materials like 100 percent fly ash concrete. Using a state-of-the-art servo-hydraulic testing system, researchers are able to simulate traffic loading to accurately study the behavior of these materials when placed in typical transportation environment.

Systems Engineering Development and Integration Laboratory

The Systems lab facilitates the application of the systems engineering field’s best practices to the engineering, development and integration of Intelligent Transportation Systems, information technology and communications systems for rural areas. The lab serves as a testbed for numerous technologies and provides space and technology for a range of exercises including assembling and testing prototypes, and includes fabrication capability.


Transcend is a large-scale research facility currently under construction in Lewistown, Montana. When completed in spring 2009, it will provide a place where researchers can study multi-disciplinary transportation challenges in a full-scale environment without interfering with or affecting the traveling public. Located in the northwest United States, these investigations can be done in a variety of climates, especially the cold since Transcend will have a state-of-the-art snowmaking system to simulate winter conditions. Located on 230 acres of leased property, including and containing four miles of paved test track, its many other features will include: data acquisition and communication infrastructure, heated garage space and a place to handle study participants for human factors research. In essence, Transcend provides an open road to discover innovative solutions to the nations many rural transportation challenges through advanced research, development and testing.

Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory

The Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory (CSIL) enables researchers to understand and mitigate the effects of materials corrosion on transportation systems as well as promote the sustainability of transportation infrastructure. WTIuses the lab to conduct problem-driven research in a trans-disciplinary manner with emphases on improved materials integrity, environmentally responsible maintenance and use of advanced technologies.

Driving Simulator Laboratory

The high-fidelity driving simulation facility includes a suite of driving simulators that enables research capabilities across a full range of fidelity and ecological validity. The PC-based desktop simulators enable study in infrastructure, transportation visualization and traffic modeling. The virtual reality nonmotion simulator can be used to perform visualization, human factor experiments and system evaluations. The new state-of-the-art eight channel motion base simulator extends the simulation research capabilities. This facility provides an ideal setting to collect data on driver performance and behavior in a variety of driving scenarios custom-designed to meet the needs of individual transportation research projects. The lab includes (1) equipment to measure eye glance behavior correlated in real time with objects in the virtual environment, and (2) a software configurable dashboard with touch screen and multimodal interface capabilities (visual, 3D sound, pedal, seat and pedal haptic feedback) to develop and test different system interfaces.

Murdock Naturalistic Driving Fleet & Lab

The Murdock Naturalistic Driving Fleet & Lab will use six vehicles and sensor systems that will help researchers find ways to make rural roads in the US, such as Montana, less deadly.