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The addition of a new strong floor to Acopian Engineering Center will create the opportunity for students and faculty to conduct structural testing, a vital part of structural engineering research.

The strong floor was installed in a room previously used to test the properties of engineering materials. According to Steve Kurtz, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, the strong floor provides the base necessary to test structural elements like beams, frames, and trusses with forces that may reach as high as 300,000 lbs.

The elements will be load tested, which involves pulling or pushing on the structure with forces produced by hydraulic jacks. The items being tested are nearly the same size as the components actually used to construct buildings, bridges, and other structures.

The college funded the installation as part of its matching of a $243,526 National Science Foundation grant for structural engineering research. According to Kurtz, the grant itself will benefit the faculty in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and mathematics.

The strong floor has already been used in the Fundamentals of Structural Engineering course and will be used in Design of Concrete Structures and Design of Steel Structures as well. The installation equips the facility for research that previously couldn’t have been done at the College.

“The ability to conduct structural tests opens up the college to an area that could only be studied by working at [another] lab. By bringing a facility like this on campus, we substantially improve our ability to have faculty and students working together on this kind of research,” Kurtz says.

Categorized in: Academic News