Civil Engineering Laboratory


 This facility offers a series of practical experiments designed to investigate the properties of a variety of materials used in the construction industry

Students using a universal test machine

Main materials laboratory

The laboratory work is broadly based to develop an understanding of the properties of materials, in terms of their structure, use in the construction industry and methods of performance testing.

At level one laboratory study is concerned with introducing the student to the fundamental properties of such materials. The student is asked to investigate the physical and chemical properties in relation to appreciating why different materials are specified for particular elements within the structure, and why buildings stand up. An outline of the areas covered being:

  • The performance of cement based materials, i.e. concretes & cement pastes, in terms of the compressive strength as a function of the free-water content and inclusion of pozzolanic materials.
  • The performance of timber beams with respect to applied loadings.
  • The performance of steels with respect to their carbon content, i.e. elasticity.
  • The performance of masonry elements with respect to the absorption of moisture.

Some final year research projects stem from level one work.

Students on some programmes of study may go on to build upon the knowledge accumulated at level one at levels two and three.

Concrete mixing workshop

This workshop is adjacent to the main material laboratory and allows students to mix and cast concrete for use in the experiments in the laboratory. It also allows students to experience on site quality control tests.

Key equipment available

  • Concrete compression tester - ELE Autoset 3000
  • Universal test frame - Testometric FS500CT 500KN
  • Concrete/timber flexural test frame - Testometric FS100SCCT 100KN
  • Materials tensile testing machine - Hounsfield H20K-W
  • Concrete core cutoff and trimmer
  • Cross beater mill
  • Concrete core drill - Diamant Boart DM100W
  • Concrete mixers
  • Vibrating table
  • Concrete vibrating poker
  • Various ovens/furnaces
  • Environmental chamber - Weiss WKL100
  • Various digital balances/larger scales
  • Reinforcement bar covermeters
  • Vee Bee consistometer
  • Air entrainment meter
  • Aggregrate moisture meter - Speedy Moisture Meter
  • Digital Thermometers – Testo 925
  • Resonant frequency tester
  • Schmidt rebound hammer - various types

Contact Staff

James Hewell | Senior Technician
+44 (0)1772 89 3213 | Harris Building HB129

Gavin Kelly | Technician
+44 (0)1772 89 4216 | Harris Building HB126/HB129

LIS Customer Support Team
+44 (0)1772 89 5355

Key equipment continued

  • Ultrasonic pulse velocity meter - CNS Farnell Pundit
  • Concrete strength pull test - Germann Instruments Lok-Test
  • Plaster shrinkage tests Damp meters/full survey kit - Protimeter
  • Shear box apparatus
  • Cassegrande test
  • Soils sieve shakers
  • Cone penetrometer test
  • Microscopes
  • Video borescope
  • Timber chop saw
  • Concrete curing tanks


Harris Building, HB127

Opening Times, Guides and Charges

Official workshop hours are: 9:30 to 12.30 and 13.30 to 16:30 (in practice technicians are often available outside of these times)

Industry Support  (IGA work)