Materials Laboratory

Lab Contact: Eli Cuelho

The materials lab provides a place to test the mechanical and physical properties of a variety of innovative materials used in transportation construction. For instance, we’ve researched “green” highway materials such as fly ash, a waste product created during coal burning. In this case, concrete mixes have been created that use fly ash as a substitute for traditional Portland cement. But unlike cement production, which can have a heavy environmental impact, fly ash is 100 percent recycled (see project) The geosynthetic industry, whose materials are used extensively and successfully in many highway construction projects, has a growing need for material tests that define mechanical properties pertinent to working load conditions within pavement structures. Such analyses are essential for the growth of safe and reliable use of economical reinforcement products for construction and repair of transportation infrastructure. Our Materials Laboratory and its team are equipped with the expertise and equipment to fulfill the critical need for testing and to offer solutions for transportation system challenges. Our researchers are dedicated to providing materials testing and research in order to further the field of transportation and provide new and enhanced solutions for long-lasting and cost-effective design, construction and maintenance. Capabilities: This lab is equipped with:

  • Servo-hydraulic controlled pullout test facility
  • MTS load frame with environmental chamber
  • Large oven
  • Curtis geo-grips
  • Large air-compressor
  • Compaction equipment
  • Strain gage installation equipment and associated electronics
  • MTS data acquisition system
  • National Instruments data acquisition systems
  • High-flow industrial vacuum
  • Assortment of hand and power tools
  • Floor-mounted mobile hydraulic lift
This laboratory is used on projects to:
  • Develop test methods to determine material properties for mechanistic-empirical reinforced pavement design
  • Investigate the properties of new and unique geosynthetic products
  • Support projects involving the modeling and design of reinforced pavements
  • Examine and test concrete mix designs using recycled products
Project Examples: Partners:
  • American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Drexel University
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • NAUE Fasertechnik
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Tensar Earth Technologies, Inc.
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Maryland