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National Infrastructure Laboratory

National Infrastructure Laboratory

The UKCRIC National Infrastructure Laboratory represents an investment of £48m, including funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) and project partners, as part of the UK’s Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC).

Based at Southampton’s Boldrewood Innovation Campus, the Laboratory is situated adjacent to Lloyds Register’s Global Technology Centre and other cutting-edge resources.

The laboratory houses five new engineering laboratories including a 30m x 15m large structures testing laboratory, and a cutting edge geotechnical centrifuge.

Large Structures Testing Laboratory (LSTL):

The largest facility in the NIL is the Large Structures and Testing Laboratory, a 30 x 15 m strongfloor, which hosts single and double-storey facilities for testing structures, components and materials at a range of scales. Through parallel EPSRC funding, the LSTL hosts data-rich structural testing, using multi-axis actuation and advanced image analysis techniques to detect system behaviour

Testing and Structures Research Lab (TSRL):

The TSRL is a state-of-the-art materials and sub-structure testing facility. An extensive range of static, cyclic and high strain rate machines are used to test a wide range of materials across loading scales, length scales, temperature scales and strain rates. Non-contact, non-destructive techniques, especially image analysis, are used to quantify damage and defects.

Geomechanics Laboratory:

The Geomechanics Laboratory is equipped for both standard and advanced soil element testing, and is used for teaching, research and collaboration with industry. Apparatus includes oedometers, triaxial machines, a hollow cylinder, a resonant column and a simple shear device. We also have custom-built machines to test ballast in bulk and at single particle contacts. The Laboratory is also used for assembly and testing of field instrumentation.

Energy Laboratory:

The Energy Laboratory hosts research into renewable generation and urban energy performance. The laboratory forms a test bed for field instrumentation systems, including solar power devices and monitoring systems for buildings and the urban environment. The monitoring systems are deployed across cities and towns to create living laboratories that explore socio-technical aspects of energy in urban areas.

Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility:

The Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility allows accelerated scale modelling of geosystems, such as earthworks, foundations and other civil engineering systems that interact with the ground. The centrifuge spins the scale models to accelerations of up to 130 times Earth’s gravity. Experiments use state-of-the-art data acquisition, robotic manipulation and image analysis, to address engineering challenges on land, by the coast or at the seafloor.

The National Infrastructure Laboratory will:

These world-ranking facilities put Southampton at the forefront of engineering teaching and research. The new laboratories will greatly enhance our capabilities, and 25% of the capacity will be available to external partners for collaborative research. This high-quality development is a tribute to everyone involved in specifying, designing, building and equipping the laboratories, and the investment is a reflection of the reputation of the University for undertaking internationally significant research.

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