Campus Life

USU to Dedicate Two New Engineering Labs

Utah State University will dedicate two major new College of Engineering labs that will allow professors to conduct state-of-the-art research and help future engineers better understand the complex problems of bridge and dam deterioration and collapse.
The dedication and ribbon cutting for the Hydraulics Modeling Laboratory and Structural Testing Laboratory is Thursday, Sept. 24, at 1:30 p.m. at the Utah Water Research Laboratory, 1600 East Canyon Road in Logan. Parking and shuttle-bus details are included below.
“These new labs provide the opportunity for USU engineering students to work with the latest technologies in hydraulics and structures, in addition to providing our faculty with the tools to enhance their research leadership positions in the state, nation, and world,” said H. Scott Hinton, dean of the College of Engineering.
The 11,000-square-foot Hydraulics Modeling Laboratory is an extension of the existing Utah Water Research Laboratory, in operation since 1965. The new lab will increase the number and scope of open channel hydraulics modeling projects possible at the UWRL, said Mac McKee, UWRL director.
Detailed large physical models of dams and spillways, as well as other hydraulic models, can be constructed and tested with an even larger possible flow rate than the existing hydraulics laboratory. These new facilities will be in high demand from federal agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state and private organizations such as the Lower Colorado River Authority in Texas, McKee said. The first project to be constructed in the new facility is a model of the spillway located on the Tule River in California. This is a good example of the type of large physical modeling that will be conducted by professors Steven Barfus, William Rahmeyer, Michael Johnson and Blake Tullis in the new hydraulics laboratory.
Rahmeyer, department head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said one of the major benefits of the new lab is that faculty and students can study flow problems that the typical small sizes of physical models are unable to duplicate.
“Very few laboratories in the world can study ‘large-sized physical’ models, so most labs have to then use either numerical models or small physical models that distort the model results,” Rahmeyer said. “This facility will help our researchers generate much more accurate data.”
The new 5,000-square-foot Structural Testing Laboratory will facilitate research and testing for the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program, a national study on bridge safety. It will provide much needed space to conduct research and testing for the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program, a national study on bridge safety. Professor Marv Halling, principal investigator on the project, and his co-investigators, professors Paul Barr and Kevin Womack, will use the lab to study the monitoring and inspection frequency of bridges in the western United States. They will look at typical overpass bridges that commuters use every day. The high-quality quantitative data collected from the research and testing in the new lab will enable engineers to develop new and improved models. The data collected will enable engineers to develop new and improved models for bridges worldwide.
Parking is available in the Romney Stadium parking lot located at 800 East 1000 North, Logan. A shuttle bus will take people to and from the UWRL. For those interested, an additional tour will be available of the main Utah Water Resources Lab building, including the 50,000-square-foot hydraulics experimental facility, the Environmental Quality Laboratory and poster displays of on-going research activities.
Writer: Todd Heaps, 435-797-1350,
Contact: Tim Vitale, 435-797-1356,
interior detail of USU's Hydraulics Modeling Laboratory

Detail from the interior of the Hydraulics Modeling Laboratory. That laboratory, along with the Structural Testing Laboratory will be dedicated Thursday, Sept. 24. All are invited.


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