Kent A. Harries, Ph.D., FACI, P.Eng.
The Watkins-Haggart Structural Engineering Laboratory is the facility at the heart of the experimental structural engineering research efforts at the University of Pittsburgh. This unique facility is located in the sub-basement of Benedum Hall on the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. The Lab is a 4000 ft 2 Â (370 m 2 ) high-bay testing facility with a massive reaction floor. The high-bay testing area is serviced by a 10 ton radio controlled bridge crane and other heavy material handling equipment. As a compliment to the reaction floor, the Lab also has an extremely versatile self-contained reaction frame and the following major equipment:
200 kip (900 kN) servo-hydraulic universal testing machine (UTM) with 15 ft (4.5 m) opening (customized MTS)
200 kip (900 kN) hydraulic UTM with 6 ft (2 m) opening (Baldwin)
124 kip (550 kN) servo-hydraulic material test frame (Satec)
20 kip (90 kN) servo-hydraulic fatigue rated UTM (MTS)
500 kip (2220 kN) hydraulic concrete cylinder frame (Gilson)
300 kip (1300 kN) reconfigurable test frame
50 kip (220) kN fatigue test capacity (MTS)
225 kip (1000 kN)Â in situ Â field testing capacity (Enerpac)
The laboratory maintains a number of computer controlled data acquisition systems that allow for the automated reading and recording of over 130 discrete channels of instrumentation. The lab has full-scale nondestructive evaluation equipment and field-testing equipment suitable for a variety ofÂ in situ Â test programs. Since 2004, the laboratory has specialized in conducting large scale fatigue testing at load ranges up to 50,000 pounds (220 kN). To date, fatigue tests totaling over 120 million load cycles have been conducted. The largest tests conducted by the Watkins-Haggart lab team where the 2006 tests of a pair of 90 foot long (28 m), 70 ton long prestressed girders recovered from the collapsed Lake View Drive Bridge.Â The lab has also conducted extensive research for PennDOT, NCHRP and various other public and private agencies.