Thomas M. Murray Structures Laboratory
Virginia Tech Thomas M. Murray Structures Laboratory: outdoor view (top left); fully equipped machine shop (bottom left); structural testing strong floor (right).
The Virginia Tech’s Thomas M. Murray Structures and Materials Laboratory is a 17,000 sq.ft. test facility located on the Virginia Tech campus. The laboratory contains state-of-the art structural and materials testing equipment and data acquisition systems that have supported many successful research programs on full-scale components. The laboratory is accredited by the International Accreditation Service (IAS) for demonstrating compliance with ANS/ISO/IEC Standard 17025:2005, General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. The equipment and instrumentation used in certified testing is calibrated in accordance with ISO 17025, and traceable to the NIST. The laboratory includes a complete machine shop, staffed by two full-time technicians. The technicians have a wide range of machining and welding capabilities. An electronics technician is available within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
Central to the experimental capabilities of the structures laboratory is the 3,600 sq.ft. structural reaction floor constructed with four W36x150 steel beams encased in 3.5 ft deep reinforced concrete. The top flanges of the beams are exposed to permit connection of test frames and columns. Eight closed-loop servo controlled hydraulic actuators with force capacity between 55 kips to 445 kips and stroke between 6” and 30” are available for dynamic testing structural components and assemblages. The actuators are powered by two hydraulic supplies: a 90 gpm pump and a 30 gpm pump. Several loading frames are available to construct a wide variety of test arrangements and reaction assemblies. Uniaxial testing machines with capacities from 34 kips to 300 kips will be used for FML confined cylinder tests. Data acquisition will be performed with the use of computer controlled National Instruments data acquisition systems, and SCXI and PXI platforms for recording signals from strain gages, AC transducers, DC transducers, voltage inputs, and digital devices. Data acquisition sampling rates are as high as 333,000 samples per second.
Single Stage Gas Gun
Single-stage gas gun for impact and ballistic testing of materials under shock conditions.
The Impact Testing and Multiscale Characterization Laboratory of Virginia Tech Professor Dr. Linbing Wang contains a light gas gun for impact and ballistic experiments. The single stage launch system consists of an 18 ft (5.5 m) long 3.15 in (80 mm) diameter barrel designed for planar impact experiments. Using compressed He gas, the double diaphragm firing system can reliably accelerate 1.5 lb (700 g) payloads in excess of 3,300 ft/s (1000 m/s) in a safe and repeatable manner. At these velocities, cementitious, ceramic, metallic, geological, textile, and soft media can be subjected to impact pressures many thousands of times the pressure of air at the surface of the Earth. Experiment packages can be fired upon by a range of projectiles whose shape, velocity, and material hardness can be tuned to precisely attain the desired impact characteristics. Controlled environment impact tests under high or low temperature and specific magnetic field conditions can also be accommodated. Experimental diagnostics consist of optical projectile velocity measurement, high speed data acquisition systems, and Cordin 350 high speed camera (up to 1 million frames per second, with a total of 16 frames).
Advanced Research Computing (ARC)
The Virginia Tech Advanced Research Computing (ARC) provides cutting-edge high-performance computing and visualization resources. High-performance general-purpose computing systems well-suited for finite element and computational fluid dynamics analysis include: (1) Cascades, a general purpose cluster with 190 compute nodes equipped with two 16-core Intel Xeon “Broadwell” CPU and 128 GB of memory; (2) NewRiver, a general purpose cluster with 100 compute nodes equipped with two 12-core Intel Xeon “Haswell” CPU, 128 GB memory and 18 TB SAS drives. ARC operates and maintains a wide-range computing stack, including LS-DYNA, ABAQUS, MATLAB, R, and other commonly used research software.