Finding new applications for advanced materials is the central mission at the Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR) at Lawrence Technological University.
Completed in 2008, CIMR was initially funded by a five-year, $11 million agreement with the U.S. Army. The 7,200-square-foot research facility with a 30-foot clearance height has a 25,000-pound crane to accommodate testing of structural components up to 100 feet long under various types of loads up to one million pounds.
A large-scale fire chamber with dynamic and static loading capabilities can test structural components in temperatures up to 2,300°F, including conditions like those of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
A full-scale environmental chamber – spacious enough for a large vehicle – can simulate harsh weather conditions such as blowing, freezing rain, sub-zero temperatures, or dry heat up to 180°F.
The ElectroPuls 10000 measures the performance of materials when subjected to pulling, twisting and repeated loads. The all-electric system doesn’t need any hydraulic mechanisms or a cooling system.
CIMR also has the MTS Model 311 Four Post Frame, which is a high-force test system that can be used for a variety of material property tests. It has an environmental chamber that can subject a specimen to temperatures ranging from -200°F to 200°F.
The facility is best known for developing new applications for carbon fiber in bridge construction under the leadership of College of Engineering Dean Nabil Grace. Many other advanced materials have also been developed and/or tested for applications in the military as well as in business and industry.
“We continue to invest in new testing equipment that will enhance our research capabilities in the future,” Grace said.
Transportation officials from eight states recently met at Lawrence Technological University to view progress on a three-year study to evaluate alternative materials and a new design for a new approach to building longer-lasting and corrosion-free highway bridges.