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BreakerSpace@More: a new testing space for destructive characterization of conventional and advanced materials and components

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering








The main objective of this proposal is to enhance UW student educational/research experiences through the addition of state-of-the-art compression and flexure (bend) testing and visualization equipment in the UW Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Construction Materials Laboratory (CML). This laboratory is used by all CEE undergraduate students, the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Team RSOs, many CEE graduate students, Mary Gates Scholars, and independent study students (e.g., CEE498) from other disciplines including Material Science and Engineering and Construction Management. Current testing equipment in the CML supports two laboratory courses (CEE337 100-150 students/year, CM323 50-75 students/year) but is not suitable for independent use by students because it requires significant training and practice to operate safely. As a result, the current equipment is generally only available to those affiliated with the lab, and few students ever gain access to it. Nor is the equipment particularly suitable for research or student activities since no data is collected or recorded beyond the peak load reached during the test. The equipment, therefore, is predominantly an antiquated teaching tool that has occasional use by other authorized users. The requested compression and flexure testing equipment would provide a new “BreakerSpace” on campus to complement the existing makerspace and testing facilities already available for UW student research and other student-led activities. The ability to build prototypes or design materials and then test these components/ materials to failure is a crucial part of the engineering design cycle and one that is limited on campus presently.


After the training, students will need to sign up on a shared calendar to schedule the equipment use. Normal hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays to Friday. However, the equipment will be also be available after hours with special arrangements.

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