Structural Systems Laboratory

Structural Systems labSince its opening in 1986, the Powell Labs have been in the forefront of structural testing in the United States. Its 15 m (5 0 ft) tall reaction wall and 37 m (120 ft) long strong-floor made it the first high bay structural testing facility in the U.S. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which caused large amounts of damage in the San Francisco Bay region, Powell Labs lead the way in development and testing of methods to retrofit the existing bridge infrastructure in California, doing the majority of the required testing. The Structural Systems Laboratory has a 15 m (50 ft) high by 9 m (29.5) wide strong wall. It is a two cell box girder structures with a structural depth of 4.72 m (15.5 ft). The strong floor is a four cell box girder 37 m (120 ft) by 15 m (50 ft) wide with a total structural depth of approximately 4.25 m (14 ft). The thickness of the top slab is 0.91 m (3 ft) thick. The usable floor space in front of the strong wall is 30.5 m (100 ft) long. In 1999, a 14.3 m (47 ft) tall by 4 m (13 ft) wide movable reaction tower was added, allowing biaxial testing.

Dimensions, Capacities and Capabilities

Test Floor

  • Four cell reinforced concrete box girder
  • Length - 37 m (120 ft.)
  • Width - 15 m (50 ft.)
  • Test floor slab thickness - 0.91 m (3 ft.)
  • Tie down points on a 0.61 x 0.61 m (2 x 2 ft.) module in both directions
  • Load per anchor point - 1,334 kN (300 kips)
  • Test Load Moment Capacity - 108,600 kN-m (80,000 ft. - kips)
  • Special Permit Test Load Moment Capacity - 183,200 kN-m (135,200 ft.-kips)

Reaction Wall

  • Two cell post-tensioned concrete box girder
  • Height - 15 m (50 ft.)
  • Width - 9 m (30 ft.)
  • Tie through points on a 0.61 x 0.61 m (2 x 2 ft.) module in both directions
  • Load per anchor point - 1,334 kN (300 kips)
  • Test Load Shear Capacity - 11,876 kN (2,670 kips)
  • Test Load Moment Capacity - 108,600 kN (80,000 ft.-kips)
  • Special Permit Test Load Shear Capacity - 20,016 kN (4,500 kips)
  • Special Permit Test Load Moment Capacity - 183,200 kN-m (135,200 ft.-kips)

Overhead Crane

  • 89 kN (20 kips)

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