Weil Hall Structures and Materials Laboratory

Weil Hall Structures and Materials Laboratory

The Weil Hall Structures and Materials Laboratory (affectionately known as “The Pit”) is a fully equipped civil engineering materials preparation and testing laboratory. The Laboratory specializes in concrete design and testing as well as small to large scale structural experiment testing.

All ESSIE laboratory users must complete safety training prior to using the lab facility. This link will automatically sign you up for Lab Safety Training and guide you through the process for use of the Weil Hall Structures and Materials Laboratory.

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Mills and Metal Lathes

The fabrication room contains two Bridgeport Series I three-axis mills with a digital read-out and a 14-inch by 40-inch Summit metal lathe.


The weld shop has a 20-foot by 4-foot welding table with a Miller Syncrowave 180 SD TIG welder and Lincoln Electric Power MIG 255. The weld shop also has a horizontal band saw and bench grinders for metal cutting and material preparation. A Lincoln Electric portable fume extractor with a HEPA filter is used for ventilation.

Drill Presses

The lab has several drill presses ranging from a Craftsmen 10-inch 1/4 HP bench drill press to a Powermatic 1 HP 15inch drill press. A Cincinnati Bickford 5 HP 21-inch drill press is commonly used for coring concrete.

Metal and Wood Cutting

The lab is equipped with several different saws. For metal cutting, there is a Dewalt abrasive wheel chop saw, or for larger cuts, the 1 HP Enco metal cutting horizontal band saw. For woodworking, a SawStop 30-inch cabinet table saw and a Dewalt 12-inch double compound miter saw are available with dust collection system.
The lab is also equipped with circular saws, reciprocating saws, angle grinders, belt and disc sanders, orbital sanders, nail guns, specialty drills, and many other hand, power, and pneumatic tools.

Materials Handling and Preparation

Ovens and Freezers

Within the lab, there are several ovens for driving water from material samples including two 24.0 cubic-foot BlueM ovens. Other ovens include 18.0 and 6.6 cubic-foot bench top ovens with high temperatures of 400°F and 550°F respectively. The lab also has a 17.1 cubic-foot -40°C Harris chest freezer, a 48 cubic-foot laboratory refrigerator, and a Humboldt freeze-thaw chamber (meets AASHTO T161, ASTM C666).


The Weil Hall Structures and Materials lab is equipped with two Gilson TS-1 testing screen sieves, each accommodating six screens and one pan. The lab has several sieve shakers that will accommodate 8-inch and 10-inch circular sieves.
A Bico pulverizer, Covington ball mill, and jaw crusher are available for particle size reduction.

Handling Equipment

The lab is equipped with several dollies, hand trucks, and manual lift carts to move small amounts of materials as well as a Caterpillar GP30L Forklift with a 5300-pound capacity and 15.5-foot maximum lift height. The high-bay structures lab is also equipped with two Robbins & Myers five-ton overhead cranes.

Concrete and Mortar Mixers

The concrete mixing lab is AASHTO M 201 (ASTM C511) compliant and contains two concrete mixers with mixing capacities of 2 and 6 cubic-foot, and an IMER Mortarman 750 vertical shaft mixer used to make ultra-high performance concrete. The lab also contains 5 quart and 20 quart mortar mixers. Standard mortar and concrete fresh property test equipment (scales, vibrating table, slump cones, air meters, thermometers, flow table, etc.) and aggregate property test equipment are also available for use. An Industrial Maid two-arm particulate extractor is used while handling cementitious material.

Concrete Specimen Preparation

Cylinders prepped for concrete testing are ground using a Marui end grinder and cut using a 14-inch concrete wet saw or 24-inch Covington slab saw.

Materials Testing

Universal Testing Machines

A Universal Testing Machine, or UTM, is a machine that allows samples to be tested in pure tension or pure compression. The UTMs utilized in the lab have several different couplers that allow different types of loading conditions (triple point flexural testing, extensometer testing, etc). The Instron 3384 has a 150 kN (33.7 kips) capacity. The Tinius Olsen 400 Super “L” has a capacity of 1,780 kN (400 kips). The MTS 810 has a capacity of 220 kips in compression and has hydraulic grips for testing specimens in tension up to 50 kips.

Compression Machines

Concrete cylinder are tested for strength properties using the concrete compression machines. The lab has three compression machines for compression, splitting tension, flexural testing of concrete cylinders. The machines are a Gilson MC-500M Concrete Compression Testing Machine with a 500 kip capacity, a TestMark CM-5000-DB with a 500 kip capacity, and a TestMark CM-4000-SD with a 400 kip capacity.

Environmental Control

Inside the lab is a Cincinnati Sub Zero (CSZ) environmental chamber capable of controlling temperature as well as humidity. The CSZ Chamber has interior dimensions of 12-foot x 12-foot x 8-foot high. It has a temperature range of -4°F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C) with a temperature constancy of ±0.5°F (±0.3°C). The chamber also has a humidity range of 10-95% depending on ambient temperature and humidity with an accuracy of ±2.5%. The lab also has two smaller 1.2 cubic-foot and one 3.0 cubic-foot CSZ environmental chambers with a temperature range of -22°F to 375°F (-30°C to 190°C) and a humidity range of 10-95%.
A 210 square-foot and 178 square-foot room are temperature and humidity controlled to meet the requirements of ASTM C512 for creep and shrinkage testing of concrete and ASTM G109 for corrosion testing of steel reinforcement.
A 436 square-foot moist curing room is used to store curing concrete specimens in accordance to ASTM C511.

Specialty Testing Equipment

The lab has an array of specialty cement and concrete equipment, including:
  • Thermogravimetric analyzer
  • 1100°C muffle furnace (0.65 cubic-foot)
  • Two eight-channel isothermal calorimeters
  • Semi-automated polishing wheel for scanning electron microscope sample preparation
  • Pheso concrete rheometer to measure concrete rheological properties
  • Rapid chloride permeability test equipment
  • Rapid chloride migration test equipment
  • Electrical resistivity test equipment for bulk and surface resitivity
  • Water permeability panels with enough cells to test 60 concrete permeability samples simultaneously
  • Pore press to extract pore solution, as well as a pore solution resistivity cell to measure pore solution electrical properties
  • Chloride auto-titrator

Structural Testing

Strong Wall and Floor

The lab has a 20-foot tall strong wall (also known as a reaction wall) as well as a strong floor. These structural systems allow systems with large loads to be anchored into place using the anchor points. The partially enclosed area by the strong wall is 20-foot by 20-foot with 50 kip wall anchor points spaced on a four-foot grid. The strong floor measures 76-foot by 20-foot with 100-200 kip anchor points spaced on a four-foot grid.


Hydraulic pumps and cylinders are combinable systems to create lifting jacks for structural testing. The lab has numerous Enerpac pumps and cylinders with varying strokes and capacities up to 150,000 pounds.


In addition to the UTMs the lab is equipped with several load cells including flat (or pancake) load cells, S-type load cells, reaction torque transducers, earth pressure cells, etc. The lab also has National Instruments data acquisition modules for strain gages, thermocouples, and other measurements.