Sponsored Research Program
The ATLSS sponsored research program supports the University’s position that “the researcher’s sense of continual discovery and our cultivation of the theory-to-practice continuum shape all that we do at Lehigh”. Funding for ATLSS’s sponsored research programs is obtained through both the public and private sector. ATLSS faculty and research staff are continually exploring sponsored research programs that support the intellectual focus of the Center, which currently includes areas such as Advanced Structural Materials and Systems, Infrastructure Deterioration, Infrastructure Hazard Mitigation, Infrastructure Reliability, Maintenance, and Life Cycle Management, Intelligent Infrastructure, and Simulation, Measurement, and Evaluation.
We encourage you to contact any ATLSS faculty or research staff member to learn more about sponsored research opportunities and projects within the Center.
Industrial Testing Program
The ATLSS industrial testing program assists industrial and engineering firms of all sizes with testing, research, and development of products and systems by offering technical capabilities that can yield valuable data as well as technical assessments of existing structures. The program utilizes the unique engineering capabilities of both the ATLSS large-scale multi-directional experimental laboratory and the Fritz Engineering Laboratory and the extensive experience of its leadership and support staff to technically address the project at hand.
ATLSS Large Scale Multi-directional Experimental Laboratory
The ATLSS Large Scale Multi-directional Experimental Laboratory was dedicated in 1989 as part of the ATLSS National Engineering Research Center established by the National Science Foundation. The primary features of the laboratory are the 102 x 40 foot strong floor and fixed concrete reaction walls, up to 50 feet in height, which encircle three corners of the floor. Multi-directional loads and motions are applied by computer controlled hydraulic actuators to scaled or full size test structures comprised of any material. The laboratory boasts a wide range of instrumentation and data acquisition technologies, in addition to faculty and full-time staff that are available to assist in the execution of a project. A wide range of tests with static, pseudo-dynamic, dynamic, fatigue, impact, and seismic loading can be performed. In 2004, the capabilities of the industrial testing program were enhanced with the addition of the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Real-Time Multi-Directional (RTMD) equipment site, which allows for multi-directional real-time seismic testing in combination with real-time analytical simulations, to investigate the seismic behaviour of small and large scale structural components, structural sub assemblages, and systems.
Fritz Engineering Laboratory
The Fritz Engineering Laboratory has been at the forefront of civil engineering research at Lehigh University since 1909. The laboratory currently features universal testing machines with up to 5,000,000 pound capacities, a dynamic test bed with static and fatigue testing capabilities, and a wide range of test instrumentation and data acquisition capabilities. The laboratory also boasts dedicated faculty and full-time research and laboratory technical staff which are experienced in the development and execution of calibrations, standardized tests, customized tests, and applied research.
Inquiries regarding the industrial test program or potential tests for your specific technical application should be addressed to:
ATLSS Industrial Testing Manager
ATLSS Engineering Center
Inquiries specific to Fritz Engineering Laboratory should be addressed to:
Fritz Industrial Testing Supervisor
ATLSS Engineering Research Center
General inquiries can also be addressed to:
Dr. Chad Kusko
Administrative Director, ATLSS Engineering Research Center
Examples of Recent Testing Projects
Note: The following represents a partial list of projects only. If you have interest in specific testing that is not noted below, you are strongly encouraged to contact Frank Stokes to discuss your requirements.
- Airport taxi deck fatigue tests
- Beam-column seismic tests
- Bridge bearing compression and friction tests
- Bridge orthotropic deck fatigue tests
- Bridge main cable wire tests
- Calibrations – high capacity compression and tension load cells
- Calibrations – high capacity hydraulic rams
- Calibrations – portable truck scales
- Carbon fiber tube tension and compression tests
- Composite liner panel compression tests
- Composite panel flexure and fatigue tests
- Composite piling flexural and compression tests
- Compressor rotor assembly tension tests
- Concrete anchor embedment pullout tests
- Concrete column compression tests
- Concrete girder flexure and shear tests
- Concrete lintel beam flexure tests
- Concrete panel flexure tests
- Corrugated girder compression and flexure tests
- Electrical transmission line tower tests
- Escalator step fatigue tests
- FAA structures impact tests
- Fabric and wire sling tension tests
- FRP bridge deck flexure tests
- H-pile weld splice flexure tests
- Helicopter cabin lift cradle proof tests
- Marine fender performance tests
- Modular expansion joint fatigue tests
- Monorail girder fatigue test
- Nuclear reactor closure head lift rig
- Nuclear reactor coolant pump and containment lifting beam proof tests
- Nuclear reactor crane and lifting components proof tests
- Nuclear reactor low profile transporter
- Nuclear spent fuel canister proof tests
- Parking garage crash rail test
- Railroad rail flexural and fatigue tests
- Rebar couplers tension tests
- Roller assemblies compression and friction tests
- Roof joist loading tests
- Scaffold assemblies and components
- Ship structure evaluation tests
- Shoring posts and assemblies
- Structural strand tension tests
- Suspender rope tension and fatigue tests
- Suspender rope wire tests
- Timber mat flexure tests
- Tool cabinet raking and compression tests
- Vehicle bumper assembly
- Wind fairing impact tests
- Wooden table top capacity tests
ATLSS Infrastructure Monitoring Program
Lehigh University’s ATLSS Infrastructure Monitoring (AIM) program is internationally recognized as a leader in the field testing and evaluation of bridges and related structures and continues to advance the state of the art in this field. Although the University’s structural engineering faculty, mainly under the direction of emeritus faculty Dr. John W. Fisher and Dr. Ben T. Yen, had performed countless field instrumentation projects on bridges and other transportation structures over the previous three decades, it was during the late 1990s that researchers at the ATLSS Engineering Research Center realized that the owners of various transportation systems had more definitive needs, both research and task oriented. In 2000, the operations of the Center’s AIM program formally began.
Over the past eleven years, the AIM program’s faculty and research staff have conducted or been involved with field evaluations and failure analysis of major bridge structures and other infrastructure systems throughout the United States. Bridge owners have sought technical support for projects that included load testing and long-term monitoring of a variety of bridge types, including tied-arch, plate-girder, suspension, and truss and have often contacted the AIM program to validate the in-situ fatigue performance of a new design. The program has also been commonly contracted to evaluate the cause of observed cracking or estimate the remaining fatigue life of uncracked details. Load testing has also been successfully used to improve bridge rating analyses.
The AIM program, currently under the direction of ATLSS Director and Joseph T. Stuart Professor of Structural Engineering Richard Sause, continues to utilize its expertise to support the engineering needs of bridge and other infrastructure systems owners throughout the United States.
The expertise of the AIM program encompasses:
Controlled load testing and structural evaluation
Remote sensing and long-term health monitoring
Fatigue and fracture analysis
Development of fatigue rehabilitation and retrofit concepts
Modeling, simulation, and prediction of behavior through finite element analysis
Data reduction, analysis, and interpretation
Dynamic testing (forced-vibration, ambient vibration monitoring)
Material testing and evaluation
The AIM program owns a fully equipped field testing vehicle, a Dodge Sprinter S3500 cargo van with high roof and extended wheelbase, which provides extreme mobility and flexibility to respond to project demands upon short notice. This vehicle is equipped with a mobile office and stores a cache of tools, instrumentation, and other supplies regularly required for field monitoring projects.
The data acquisition and instrumentation capabilities include:
Rugged high-speed multi-channel digital data acquisition systems equipped with advanced signal processing capabilities
Rainflow cycle counting for fatigue evaluations
Wireless remote sensing
Remote data collection
Wide array of high fidelity sensors capable of measuring load, strain, displacement, acceleration, rotation, temperature, wind speed and direction
Digital video cameras with remote pan, zoom and tilt operations; a 4 channel digital video recorder (DVR) can be configured for continuous video monitoring.
AIM Program Contacts
Specific technical interest/inquiries regarding the program can be addressed to either of the following program research personnel:
Ian Hodgson, Research Engineer III, ATLSS Engineering Research Center
Dr. Sougata Roy, Principal Research Scientist, ATLSS Engineering Research Center
General program inquiries can be addressed to:
Dr. Richard Sause, ATLSS Director and Joseph T. Stuart Professor of Structural Engineering
Dr. Chad Kusko, Administrative Director, ATLSS Engineering Research Center
Materials Testing Program
The ATLSS Engineering Research Center operates a Materials Testing Program, which draws on the resources available in the Center’s Mechanical Testing Laboratory, Metallography and Mircroscopy Laboratories, and Robert E. Stout Welding and Heat Treating Laboratory. Included in these capabilities are 60,000 and 600,000 pound universal testing machines and a Charpy V-Notch fracture toughness testing machine for conducting standard mechanical property tests of metallic, cemenitious, and composite construction materials. Additionally, metallographic sample and material characterization capabilities are available, including hardness and microhardness, light optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. A materials engineer is dedicated to support the program’s technical projects.
Specific technical inquiries regarding how the program can address your technical needs:
Dr. Chad Kusko, Administrative Director, ATLSS Engineering Research Center
Natural Hazards Research
Real-Time Multi-Directional Equipment Site
As part of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Program, Lehigh University has established the Real-Time Multi-Directional (RTMD) earthquake simulation facility at the ATLSS Engineering Research Center. The RTMD earthquake simulation facility is a next-generation earthquake research facility for seismic performance evaluation of large-scale structural systems. This facility has advanced experimental and analytical simulation capabilities to test and validate complex and comprehensive analytical and computer numerical models, leading to advances in earthquake engineering and experimental methods.
The facility features a multi-directional reaction wall, five dynamic actuators, advanced instrumentation, and a tele-participation system consisting of real-time streaming data and video. Hydraulic power for the servo-actuator system is supplied by a system consisting of five pumps and three banks of accumulators that enables strong ground motion effects to be sustained in real-time for up to 30 seconds. Real-time multi-directional seismic testing of large-scale structural components and systems at the RTMD earthquake simulation facility can be performed using either the effective force method, pseudo-dynamic testing method, or the pseudo-dynamic hybrid testing method. Distributed hybrid pseudo-dynamic testing can also be performed using the RTMD facility in conjunction with other laboratory sites.
Additional information on the RTMD Site is available at: www.nees.lehigh.edu
Specific questions regarding the equipment site can be addressed to the following individuals:
Dr. James Ricles, RTMD Site Director and Bruce G. Johnston Professor of Structural Engineering, Lehigh University
Gary Novak, RTMD Site Operations Manager
General inquiries regarding the equipment site can be also be addressed to:
Dr. Chad Kusko, ATLSS Administrative Director, ATLSS Engineering Research Center
Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA)
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA) is a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) funded program designed to provide economic benefit to Pennsylvania through knowledge transfer, the discovery of new technologies and the retention of highly educated students.
PITA is a collaboration among the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems at Lehigh University, and the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie Mellon University.
PITA Research and Educational programs assist the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its companies in increasing operating efficiency and enhancing economic development by:
Combining physical and informational infrastructure technology development expertise in Pennsylvania.
Leveraging complementary technology development in design, manufacturing, and environmental issues.
Focusing research and educational capabilities of two world-class universities on technology solutions to economic issues in the Commonwealth.
Creating an environment linking Pennsylvania companies with students to create high paying jobs and retain highly educated students.
Additional information on the PITA program is available by visiting the PITA website at: www.pitapa.org.
Questions regarding the program or inquiries into collaboration opportunities can be addressed to:
Dr. Chad Kusko, Co-Associate Director, PITA Program, Lehigh University
Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania (RAMP)
Lehigh University’s Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Engineering Research Center, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Complex Engineering Systems (ICES), will administer a university-industry economic development program funded by the Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Community and Economic Development under the Discovered and Developed in PA (D2PA) Program. The program is entitled Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania (RAMP).
The RAMP Program will leverage the research and innovation capabilities of two of the Commonwealth’s leading research universities, Lehigh and Carnegie Mellon, and the technology-rich manufacturing sector of PA industry, to form a unique university-industry collaboration that will lead to the following outcomes in the Commonwealth:
Create a program that is PA manufacturing company influenced and uses a competitive proposal process to select and enable projects that will drive innovation in PA’s manufacturing job creators.
Create an environment linking PA companies with students to create high paying manufacturing jobs and to interest and retain highly educated students in the field of manufacturing
Provide PA companies with a competitive technology edge by introducing them to researchers and universities with equipment and skill sets to which they do not currently have access;
Open the floodgates of technology assistance and innovation to PA companies by breaking down the barriers to academic expertise;
Focus the innovation and educational capabilities of PA’s world-class research universities on real-world manufacturing solutions for PA.
RAMP will operate as a competitive funding program that will provide small Commonwealth funded incentive grants (approximately $25,000 to $75,000) to researcher-lead teams at PA universities that engage in specific, short-term innovation projects (1 to 1.5 years in duration) with a PA manufacturing company to rapidly develop and transfer innovative technologies that would help PA manufacturers to compete in the global marketplace. These grants would be used to primarily support graduate students and other non-faculty related expenses at universities under the supervision of researchers who would be committed to working with PA manufacturing companies. The PA companies would be required to provide leverage funding, targeted at $1.5 for every $1.0 of RAMP funding, for labor and project expenses to complement the funding by the proposed Commonwealth project. The results obtained by these industry-university partnership projects would also provide incentive for university researchers to seek federal grants in areas that augment the efforts initiated by the Commonwealth program and amplify the upstream investment in PA manufacturing.
The RAMP program will primarily target projects with partnering PA companies that have manufacturing facilities located within the Commonwealth.
General program inquiries can be addressed to:
Dr. Chad Kusko, Associate Director, RAMP Program
RAMP featured in The Inquirer (link)
RAMP featured in The Pittsburgh Business Times (link)
RAMP featured in The Tribune (link)