C+S September 2021 Vol. 7 Issue 9 (web)

different areas, working with bodies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop more resilient concrete for VTOL aircraft. In ad - dition, the new facility is outfitted with a metallurgical lab that allows students and researchers to focus on steel as a structural element. In order to look at different specimens and how they perform under stress, the lab has a machine to subject them to both torsion and tension at the same time. This is especially crucial for researching how the materials and buildings will react to seismic forces. In the larger context of Civil Engineering education in the United States, the Grady E. Harvell Civil Engineering Research & Education Center puts the University of Arkansas on par with the top of the field. This means that the University is better able to compete for research projects that typically go to larger schools. In fact, Dr. Prinz believes that this new facility will be a catalyst for expanding the department’s reputation; he believes that the restrictions the department previously faced have fostered a sense of creativity and innovation in the way testing is done. Now that these restrictions have been removed, Dr. Prinz believes that this same sense of creativity and innovation will help the University be more competitive and solve the country’s infrastructure problems. According to Dr. Hale, the new facility is also instrumental in attracting undergraduate and graduate students as well as in retaining faculty. In terms of recruiting undergraduates to the Civil Engineering program, this new facility provides a space to bring in both high school students and undecided undergraduates and demonstrate what civil engineering is truly like. This same process can be used to attract undergraduates from different institutions who are considering a graduate program in Civil Engineering. The recruiting of both undergraduates and gradu - ates is bolstered by the inclusion of both collaborative space and stu - dent offices in the building. The new facility is also pivotal in retaining talented faculty and researchers. Dr. Hale believes that faculty was previously limited in terms of their testing equipment, which limited what faculty the program could retain. Now, with the lack of testing ability behind the department, Dr. Hale believes that the only thing that limits them is the scope of their creativity and innovation, making the Civil Engineering department at the University of Arkansas a much more attractive place for aspiring researchers.

testing them and feeling and seeing the physical effects of their failure is what the new facility provides. Dr. Prinz believes that this will give students a more complete understanding and education. This complete understanding and education is woven into the design of the building. The building’s floor is reinforced, but its design is flexible. The floor is roughly 38 inches of concrete with overlapping pieces of 1 inch steel rebar forming a mat. The laboratory floor is out - fitted with a grid pattern of four holes turned on a diagonal, resembling diamonds. Each of these holes is a tie-down with a threaded bolt. This means researchers and instructors can connect columns and various arrangements of test figures. The flooring system is capable of sup - porting a number of different structures and arrangements for testing. Each of the floor connections is capable of supporting 240,000 pounds of axial uplift resistance and 220,000 pounds of shear resistance–every four feet. Various components of this system are pre-stressed and con - nected through large threaded rods. The shear keys at the bottom of the system, which function much like lego pegs, allow for horizontal reactions up to 220,000 pounds. However, this fascinating system designed for testing large structures doesn’t stop its toy comparisons at legos. The pieces that are plugged into these lego-like holes also function similarly to the classic Erector Set. The columns that are inserted into the system of holes are also de - signed with unique intention. With holes every 4.75 inches, the system has a massive capacity to react against the floor. Overtop this flooring system sits a 25 ton overhead crane, which gives researchers even more flexibility in terms of the tests they can execute. The Grady E. Harvell Civil Engineering Research & Education Center is also equipped with several other features that improve the lives and work of students and researchers. One such feature is a state-of-the-art materials testing lab, which allows researchers to study and develop new ways to make concrete last longer and be more durable. Within the material testing lab, there are a series of environmental chambers that allow researchers to cure concrete at different temperatures and humidities. Combined with the advanced flooring system, this will give students a better understanding of what causes buildings to fail and allow researchers to develop cheaper, better concrete. Additionally, the concrete materials lab enables researchers to take on new projects in

LUKE CAROTHERS is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at lcarothers@zweiggroup.com.


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