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College of Engineering / Dean's Report / other-stories / Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory Strengthens Auburn's Civil and Environmental Reputation

Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory Strengthens Auburn's Civil and Environmental Reputation

Auburn University strengthened its reputation as the premier destination for civil and environmental engineering research in 2020 by opening the doors on a $22 million state-of-the-art laboratory that will provide solutions to the nation’s growing infrastructure issues for years to come.

“The Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory is the next step in elevating Auburn University’s prestige,” said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. “It will allow for our exemplary faculty to find life-saving solutions to extreme events by creating more sound buildings, bridges, towers, pipelines and machinery that can withstand the forces of nature. And the new Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory provides a unique, hands-on learning experience for our students.”

Located on the western edge of campus, the 42,000-square-foot Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory, or ASEL, includes a high bay laboratory with a strong wall and strong floor specially engineered to handle extreme structural testing loads; a geotechnical chamber within the strong floor; a concrete materials research and testing laboratory; wind testing capabilities that can replicate hurricane-level loads; and faculty and graduate student spaces. 

Due to its location, the university’s previous structural testing laboratory in the Harbert Center could only accommodate elements up to 40 feet in length. The new facility allows for elements up to 140 feet long.

Additionally, the new lab’s floor is twice as large and features anchor points that hold more than 10 times the load as the floor in the previous lab. The former structural laboratory in the Harbert Center will be repurposed for other academic and research use.

But the ASEL’s most unique feature may be the 4,700-cubic-foot geotechnical test chamber within the strong floor footprint — one of the few test chambers in the nation included in a university laboratory — that will allow the department’s geotechnical researchers to conduct testing on foundations, anchorages and towers previously only possible in the field.