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Large Structures Testing Laboratory

Large Structures Testing Laboratory

The Large Structures Testing Laboratory (LSTL) is a double-storey facility for testing structures, components and materials at a range of scales across a wide range of application areas. The facility provides the University of Southampton with a state-of-the-art testing facility for data-rich structural testing, using multi-axis actuation and advanced image analysis techniques to detect system behaviour. The facility is used for research, teaching and commercial applications.

Examples of applications include:

  • Non-destructive and destructive testing of sub-structure of large components from a wide range of industries
  • Application of optical metrology techniques to obtain data-rich response from each test.
  • Applying hybrid testing (combing FE model with actuator control) to maritime stiffener components
  • Ballast/sleeper interactions for the rail industry
  • Full-scale masonry structures for validating numeric models of earthquake response
  • Sub-structure/component testing of wind turbine blades for the energy industry
  • Assessing the influence of corrosion on reinforced concrete structure
Railway sleeper/ballast interaction testing
Railway sleeper/ballast interaction testing
Full scale masonry structural testing
Full scale masonry structural testing
Multi-axial, data-rich testing of wind turbine sub-structure
Multi-axial, data-rich testing of wind turbine sub-structure

Structural and component testing

  • Large structural testing hall - 30 x 15 m
  • Multi station controller capability
  • Complex multiaxial testing
  • Range of hydraulic actuators from 100 kN to 2.5 MN capacity
  • Static and dynamic testing


  • Range of traditional measurement techniques such as strain gauges and LVDTs
  • Digital image correlation and infrared thermography non-contact techniques
  • Wide range of camera systems to support imaging from sub Hz to kHz

Structures 2025

  • Multi actuator testing
  • Complete integration with optical metrology
  • Hybrid testing

Other capabilities

  • Concrete manufacturing workshop for small scale projects
  • Small machining workshop for minor adjustments to fixtures 
  • Actuators and control system have been supplied by MTS.
  • The controller is an MTS FLEXTEST 200 which uses MTS AeroPro software, with facilities for hybrid testing.
  • Actuators from MTS and Instron covering the range 100 to 2500 kN to allow multiple load paths to be developed.
  • A reconfigurable set of fixtures and frames has been designed and manufactured to facilitate multiaxial loading of components.
  •  IX highspeed cameras, MatchID 4 camera optical metrology system, 4 x Infratec high resolution bolometer IR cameras.
  • A substructural demonstrator based on a wind turbine section has been designed, supported by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.
  • A demonstrator system has been designed and commissioned for hybrid testing with additional funding from Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI).
  • The facility is open for business and for any information, please contact us. 
Complex, multi-axial test schematic for wind turbine substructure using Structures2025 facility
Complex, multi-axial test schematic for wind turbine substructure
Schematic of an initial hybrid test using the Structures2025 facility
Schematic of an initial hybrid test using the Structures2025 facility

Dr Duncan Crump, Principal Experimental Officer,

Large Structures Testing Laboratory (LSTL)

National Infrastructure Laboratory (N|I|L)

Room 2035, Building 178,

University of Southampton

Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF


In addition to research and teaching activities, the LSTL routinely conducts consultancy and enterprise projects for external clients. If you would like to discuss capabilities and services further, please contact us.

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