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Pavement Mechanics and Materials Laboratory (PMML)

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Pavement Mechanics and Materials Laboratory has developed into an all encompassing laboratory equipped to perform a full range of tasks including the casting, curing and testing of everything from concrete specimens to full-scale pavements. The 2700 ft2 facility features the latest equipment in both destructive and non-destructive testing of portland cement concrete. Housed within the lab are two environmentally controlled rooms. The 1007 ft3 room can be adjusted to replicate a wide range of environmental conditions for curing portland cement concrete test specimens while the 630 ft3 room is maintained at a constant temperature and humidity for determining the drying-shrinkage properties of concrete in accordance with ASTM-157. The laboratory is equipped with everything needed for measuring basic aggregate properties such as the gradation, absorption capacity and specific gravity, as well as, more detailed characterizations such as determining wear resistance using the Los Angeles abrasion machine or running a micro-deval test. A 5.5 ft2 concrete mixer and all other necessary tools for casting concrete specimens are available, as well as, equipment for measuring the properties of fresh concrete. The laboratory is equipped to test the more basic properties of hardened concrete, such as, strength, elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio along with the more elaborate testing equipment needed for measuring such things as the dynamic modulus, thermal coefficient of expansion, fracture toughness of concrete and the surface texture of fractured slabs using a lazer profiler and a linear traverse equipment. Some of the sample preparation equipment available in the laboratory includes a concrete saw, core machine and a fume hood for sulfur capping. The laboratory houses a Baldwin compression machine that can be used to apply loads up to 200,000 lbs and a Test Mark compression machine with a capacity of 400,000 lbs. A multitude of tests can also be performed using the MTS TestStar Controller. The controller can be used for performing dynamic testing using a closed-loop servo hydraulic test machine. This system can be fed by either a 10 gpm or 60 gpm hydraulic pump. List of some of the equipment available in the PMML is provided below.

MTS 458.10 Micro Console w/ DC and AC Controllers + Function Generator Used. Input/output connectors supplied on the rear panel are provided for devices such as transducers, servovalves, hydraulic service manifolds, an oscilloscope, x-y recorder, or a computer. It shows signs of normal wear with minor scuffs and scrapes. Fixed Price $ 700.00. Actuators 4-6 will consist of our existing 20 kip 100 in/sec actuators commanded by Opensees using the NI real time LabVIEW system (developed in-house) and an MTS 458 controller per channel to control the actuators via SCRAMNet. From Opensees' point of view, actuators 4-6 will work exactly the same as actuators 1-3.

Equipment for Testing Concrete Specimens and Large Scale Pavement Sections/Structural Members


The following research equipment is available in the structures and pavement research laboratories.

Testing Machines

200 kip Baldwin universal testing machine with new Satec controller

20 kip MTS Universal testing machine with hydraulic grips

400 kip Test Mark testing machine with attachments for measuring split tensile, flexural and compressive strength


60 GPM Edison hydraulic power unit with a Sauer-Sundstrand pump

60 GPM Shore-Western hydraulic power unit

10 GPM MTS hydraulic power unit


Test Star IIm 7-axis controller

MP2000 2-channel controller box for linear variable deflection transducers

MTS 458 controller with micro-profiler and 3 load-control cards

MTS 442 controller with function generators

Data Aquisition

90 Channel Vishay-Micro Measurements System 5000 Compression machine

40 Channel CR10X Campbel Scientific datalogger

40 Channel CR10X Campbel Scientific datalogger

24 Channel CR7 Campbel Scientific datalogger


2 - 250 kip MTS fatigue rated actuators with 60 GPM Moog servo-valves

3 - 250 kip actuators with 60 GPM Moog servo-valves

50 kip MTS actuator with 60 GPM Moog servo-valve

25 kip MTS actuator with 60 GPM Moog servo-valve

2 - 100 kip actuators

Many other long stroke rams (1 kip - 300 kips)

External camera for macbook air. Varied and numerous Enerpac rams

Load Cells

2 - 200 kip Strainsert load cells

2 - 200 kip Senso-Tech load cells

100 kip Strainsert load cell

50 kip Lebow load cell

Fracture toughness

Non-load Related Concrete Test Equipment

16 in comparator

6 x 12 in compressometer-extensometer

4 x 8 in compressometer-extensometer

Resonant frequency equipment

Water bath with temperature control and stand for measuring thermal coefficient of expansion

The lab also includes a 10-ton crane for moving large-scale specimens and test components. A reaction floor is also available so large-scale test frames can be easily assembly to accommodate specialized loading conditions.

Concrete and Mortar Sample Preparation Equipment

The lab is fully equiped to cast, cure and test concrete specimens as well as other pavement materials. Some of the equipment available for for casting, curing and preparing concrete specimens is provided below.


1- Jaw crusher

1 – Los Angeles abrassion machine

3 – Ro-Tap sieve shakers

3 - Aggregate screen shakers

5 - Aggregate bins

27 cft forced air conventional bench aggregate oven

Fine aggregate specific gravity workstation

Coarse aggregate specfic gravity workstation

Bench Scales

Floor Scales

1 Toledo scale



Mts 458 Controller Gamepad

Ball mill Ball Mill

Vicat test equipment

Blaine air permeability apparatus


Air meters, slump cones, concrete thermometers and Vicat apparati for measuring fresh concrete properties

Unit weight bucket

5.5 cft rotating drum mixer

Concrete sedimentation pit

Vibrating table

Shaft vibrator

2 - Environmental rooms

a)Temperature/humidity controll room (Drying shrinkage) (6 ft x. 11 ft) Concrete saw

b)Temperature/humidity controll concrete cure room (11.5 ft x 14 ft)

2 - Lime cure tanks (one with heater and agitator)

Stationary core rig

Concrete saw

Fume Hood

4 qt Capping compound melting pot

12 qt Capping compound melting pot


Environmental Equipment

Viasala releative humidity/temperature probe

Digital thermocouple readout and temperature probes

Dynamic Modulus Drying Shrinkage

StartupProcedure of Fatigue Test Machine Controlled by MTS 458.20 controller andMATE (long version)

PC Preparation
1. MATE requires the use of a RAMDRIVE when usedon a PC. To facilitate this, the PC may berebooted.At the first menu in the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, the option 'Mate(new)'should be chosen.
To checkif the RAMDRIVE exists, at any DOS prompt, type 'a:' If the prompt is 'F.:>',then the RAMDRIVE has already been created and the RAMDRIVE already exits.If the response is 'Invalid Drive Specification', then no RAMDRIVE hasbeen created and the system must be rebooted.

2. Go to the directory in which the data will bestored. Make sure that at least 3 Megs of hard drive space is available,with 5 Megs being more preferable. For ease of use, start MATE in the directoryin which the data will be stored.
Example,all test data is stored on the E: drive, 'E:JASONRESRAWDATA'

Test Preparation
1. Prepare specimen with applicable procedures.
Cut tosize.
Polishif necessary.
Put specimenID on each piece of specimen for identification. If the specimen is testedto failure, put ID's on each part of specimen.
Have allmeasurements (width, thickness, notch length, Yield stress, Young's Modulus,etc., hand for inputting into MATE when prompted after starting test.

2. Decide on ranges for loads, extensometer, andstroke and install appropriate cartridges intocontrollers.
Calculatethe approximate loads,strains, S compliances that will occur during thetest.
Installload cartridges that will provide the largest Voltage in the system whilestill remaining in the applicable test ranges. For example, for a loadrange of 1750 Ibs on the 20 Kip load cell, choose the +2000 Ibs cartridge;or if load range is 0 to 7600 Ibs., chose +10 Kip cartridge to maximizesystem voltage.
Insertappropriate strain transducer, i.e. strain gage, clip gage, or extensometer,and matching range cartridges
Leave Displacementcartridge at 100%, unless using displacement control for test.

3. Install appropriate grips into test machine.
Adjustcross-head if necessary, making sure to re-tighten the Allen screws to140 ft-lbs on the cross-heads.
If usinghydraulic grips, calculate the gripping force using the equations on thegrip control.

4. Install any other necessary equipment to be usedduring the test.
Get appropriateequipment ready for use in testing, i.e. microscopes, lights, cameras,or environmental chambers.

5. If necessary, warm-up test machine.
It is necessaryto warm-up the hydraulic oil after periods of non-use. Ideally, the machineshould be warmed up before any testing is performed; however, it is especiallynecessary after periods of non-use over several days.
See appropriatesection of warming up of machine.

Test Machine Startup & SpecimenInstallation (note:output from display in Microconsole)
1. Turn console power on, located in lower leftof control tower.
Press 'Enter'on 458.20 Microconsole when prompted.
Choose458.11 Force Transducer for display mode.

2. Change Control Setting to Load control.

3. Adjust all SPAN on all controllers to 0.00. This closes the amount of electronic signal that the test machine willreceive from the MATE program. Do not change Spans until the appropriatestep.


4 Check all Transducer Fullscale settings and changewhere appropriate.
If anycartridges were changed, input the value that corresponds to 10 Volts (asshown on the front of each cartridge).

5. Check Shunt Calibrations.
For eachcontroller, there exists a written Shunt Calibration on the top of eachcartridge that ranges from 0 to 10. Pressing the Shunt Cal button, nearthe error lights in each controller, will display the shunt calibrationas a percentage when the Microconsole is set to Transducer outputt. Notethat the on output before pressing the Shunt Cal must be close to 0.00to get an accurate reading. The Transducer Output of the Shunt Cal shouldbe within 2.5 % of the written value on top of the cartridge.

6. Check DC error in load controller.
Adjust,using Load controller Set Point Pot, DC error to < 0.05% , with preferenceto as close to 0.00% as possible.

7. Balance load controller (if possible).
The following{shown on digital display} should be displayed if the load cell were perfectlybalanced.
Set point = 0.00%
DC error = 0.00%
Transducer output = 0.00%

8. Set initial Limits.
Set initiallimits such that the operator will be able to install the specimen. Theselimits usually are no the testing limits, which will be set after installationof the test specimen.

9. Start system hydraulics.
Start systemin 'Low.' Observe load train for unexpected responses. ff load train appearsfine, then go to 'High' pressure. Again, observe the system response beforecontinuing.

10. Re-balance the LVDT as much as possible.
T ypicallythe LVDT will not initially be balanced. Adjust the Set Point till thesystem is as close as possible to being balanced, i.e. the LVDT does notmove much, or moves very slowly.

11. Install specimen into top grip.

12. Re-adjust Set point for zero load.
This willzero out the weight of the specimen on the load cell. The forces that willbe then measured after this procedure will be due only to the appliedforcesof the LVDT.

13. Finish installing the specimen into the bottomgrips.

14. Re-adjust the force transducer for zero load.
Accountsfor the weight of the bottom grip.

15. Install strain transducer if necessary.

16. Adjust strain transducer output to -5 Id -8 Volts.
Use ZeroPot. This adjustment allows the strain indicator to measure from -5/-8to +10 Volts, thus effectively doubling the amount of strain that can beread, up to +10 Volts, with the strain indicator.

17. Adjust stroke transducer output to 0.00.
Use ZeroPot to bring the output to 0.0 Volts. This will allow the limits to beat a smaller value, thus more effectively controlling the limits and interlocks.

Mts 458 Controller Review

18. Adjust Upper and Lower Limits on all three controllers.
Typicallythe Limits are different during the test than during the installation ofthe specimen. Usually, for cyclic tests, there is little LVDT displacement.Additionally, these limits will help determine if a test has gone awry.

MATE Startup
1. Check for RAMDRIVE (see PC Preparation).

2. Go to appropriate directory where informationwill be stored during test.

3. Make sure Printer is turned on. MATE willnot start unless the printer is turned on.

4. Type 'mate' at DOS prompt to start MATE in currentdirectory.

5. Check Output voltages on Voltmeter.
Go to UtilitiesSubmodule.
Go to ATOD_VMmultimeter subroutine.
Look atP-P line {peak to peak noise}. if all values are <0.050 Volts, thencontinue. gsome value is > 0.050 Volts, check system. Possible reasonsare: extensometer not set right, cable not correctly attached to load cell,or hydraulics have not been warmed up.

6. Calibrate extensometer if necessary.
Use onlyif using new clip gage or if appropriate calibration equipment is available.
Go to UtilitiesSubmodule.
Go to MATEEXT_CAL subroutine.

7. Go to appropriate test module and follow instructions.
The followingare the 9 main test modules supplied in MATE. For further information,check MATE Organization Outline of Modules.
Monotonic Testing Crack Propagation Sustained Load
Low Cycle Fatigue Fracture Mechanics Diagnostics
High Cycle Fatigue Spectrum Loading Utilities

8. Be sure to adjust appropriate SPAN, and only adjustwhen prompted to turn span up or span down.
The Span Pot, when working withMATE, acts as a gate that allows voltage signals to travel from the PCto the MTS 458.20 Controller. When the Span is at 0.0, no electronic signalwill get to any of the controllers. When the Span is turned up, the electronicsignal will then pass to that controller. The amount that the Span is openeddetermines how much of the signal gets to the controller, for example,Span = 0.0 lets no signal in, Span = 10.0 lets all of the signal amplitudein, and Span = 4.0 lets 40% of the signal amplitude to the controller.

During Test general tips andhints)
1. For Crack Growth tests, check the inputted effectiveYoung'sModulus against Handbook values.
The Young'sModulus is used to determine the crack length from the measured compliance.If the value varies by more than 5% Handbook values (or 10% for an ASTMstandard test {E 647}), check for problems with the load or extensometercalibrations, or possibly wrong specimen dimensions. Adjust the EffectiveYoung's Modulus using DAC testsas describedbelow in strain data checks.

2. Check strain data.
If performingcyclic tests utilizing clip gages or extensometers, check the load vs.displacement plot from each DAC. The plot should be linear in the unloadingregime from 40% to 90% . if not check for gage placement. Perform anotherDAC to check load vs. displacement plot. Adjust until load vs. displacementplot is linear and the Young's Modulus is correct to within 5%.
If performingmonotomic test, perform checkout to a stress value below the yield limitsof the material to determine if the system is operating correctly.

3. Periodically check the Amplitude Factor duringa cyclic test.
The AmplitudeFactor is a gain that is applied to the test system that corresponds tothe ratio of the command signal amplitude to the actual load amplitude.This value should stay between 0.75 and 1.5 for the duration of the test.If the value exceeds these bounds, adjust the system gain on the 458.11Controller (Very slowly) or reduce the testing frequency
Typicallyvalues of 0.90 to 1.10 are typically acceptable.

Shutting Down a Test
1. While still in MATE, save a restart file in 'FileOptions,' and a data file if necessary.

2. If specimen has fractured and interlocks havetripped, turn down the appropriate Span.
This disconnectsthe PC and 458.20 Controller so that no more signal can get into the controllerduring MATE shutdown.

3. Remove specimen and label specimen parts withspecimen ID, if necessary.


4. Go to Main Menu in MATE, following directionsfor Span adjustment.
This isa soft safegaurd so that no residual inputs are left in the system if multipletests are run consecutively.

5. If the Hydraulics are still running, turn offif no more testing is to be performed.
Go to 'Low'pressure S observe system for unexpected responses.
Press offor hydraulic pressure.

6. If using hydraulic grips, release residual pressure.
With systemhydraulics off, open and close one of the grips. This relieves the residualpressure in the grips.

Warming up the MTS Fatigue TestMachine
1. Be sure that Limits are set, especially the LowerLimit in the Force Transducer.
This isto prevent damage to the system, especially the load cell.

2. Follow steps 1-10 in 'Test Machine Startup &Specimen Installation.'

3. Move LVDT such that the top and bottom of thegrips are at least 2 inches apart.
If systemis properly balanced, simply apply a light compressive load to the loadcell by hand.

Mts 458 Controller Pc

4. Change Control to Stroke Control (AC Controller).
ChangeDisplay to Stroke.
AdjustLVDT Set Point until DC error is 0.00.
Press 'ControlTransfer Enable' and Stroke 'Control' buttons.
Observesystem response, be ready to use Emergency Stop button.
Slowlyadjust Set Point Pot in direction of indicator lights until Control Transferis complete.
Stop adjustingSet Point as soon as control is transferred.

5a. MATE Function Generator.
Start MATE(steps 1-4 in 'MATE Startup' Section).
Go to UtilitiesSubroutine.
Go to MATEFunction Generator Subroutine.
Adjust Span on 458.13 Stroke Controller. Enter following values forthe wave inputs:
Sine Wave
Frequency = 1.0 Hz
Amplitude = 0.5 inches = 1.0 Volts
Offset = 0.0 Volts
Start Function Generator.
Run for 20 to 30 minutes.
Stop function Generator.
Exit to MATE Main Menu.
Go to Step 6.

5b. MTS 458.90 Function Generator.
Note: TheMTS Function Generator can only be used if MATE if Bus is reconnected toMTS Generator. This involves Changing Jumper J10 in the 458.90 Controller,see MTS Manual on 458.90 Fctn Gen.
Adjustthe controls to the following
Sine Wave.
Frequency - 1.0 Hz
Span = 0.5 inches = 1.0 Volts = 1.0 on scalefrom 0.0 to 10.0.
Press Runon Program/Record buttons (near Emergency Stop switch).
Run for20 to 30 Minutes.
Press Stop.
AdjustSpan back to 0.0.

6. Revert back to Load Control.
Followthe same steps in step 4, except change to Load Control.

Crack Mouth Openina DisplacementCrack Growth Test
1. Start up MTS Hydraulic Testing machine.
Use 'TestMachine Startup & Specimen Installation,' also in this handout.

2. Startup MATE in appropriate directory.
Use 'MATEStartup,' also in this handout.

3. Choose Crack Propagation Test Control & DataAnalysis from MATE Main Menu.

4. Choose CMOD Control and Data Analysis Mate SelectionMenu for Crack Mouth OpeningDisplacement testcontrol.

5. Check system setup using ATODVM routine.
Check theline 'P-P' for each Channel. The value should be less than 0.050. If not,setup is not correct.

6. Choose MCTEST Mate Compliance Crack Growth Testfrom Mate Module Selection menu.

7. Choose system of Units.

8. Adjust Span in Load Controller to 0.0.

Mts 458 Controller

9. Choose whether the maximum load will be tensileor compressive.

10. Adjust Span in Load Controller to 10.0.

11. Adjust Set Point in Load Controller to 0.2 Volts,or equivalently 2.00%.

12. Chose enter Parameters Interactively.
SpecimenGeometry Factors
Specimen ID - Enter ID of specimen.
Type of Specimen - Pick type of specimen.
Specimen Parameters - Various Geometric Measurements that define that specimentype.
Material Properties & Environment
Material ID
Yield Strength
Effective Modulus - must be with 1 0YO of actual Young's Modulus
Poisson's ratio
Test Temperature
Test Environment
Set DeviceParameters (Transducer fullscale values)
Load range - Force that corresponds to 10 Volts
Extensometer range - Displacement that corresponds to 10 Volts
Backface Strain Gage range - Strain that corresponds to 10 Volts
Type of waveform
Number of Hold Segments - places to pause the test
Load Ratio
Hold Load - what load will the machine be at during pauses
Startup Dynamic Factor - Control type gain (start at 1.000)
Sample Number
Cycle Number
Data AnalysisParameters - Two types load/displacment and da/dN
Upper Window - 90°/O - where the data will be taken with clip gage
Lower window - 4056 - where the data will be taken with clip gage
Unloading Data
Closure Load - 0.25
Deviation Amplifier - 3.0
Points in Fit - Number of data points in LSQF for predicting da/dN
Effective Delta K
da/dN lower cutoff
Data Acquisitioncontrols (DAC) - when to pause the test and perform a DAC
Crack Length
Test LoadControl Functions - Type of test to run
Constant Load
Maximum Load
Constant Stress Intensity
Decreasing Stress Intensity Precracking Control
Initial Crack length
Initial Load - Either Force or DK
Final Crack Length
Final Load - Either Force or DK
Check load shed rate at bottom of screen, must be less than 20%
Decreasing Stress Intensity Threshold Control
Constant Kmax - Linear R(a)
Constant Delta K - Linear R(N)
File &Plot Controls
Loop Storage - Hysterysis loop storage interval
Plot Interval for load vs. Displacement - DAC interval for printing load/displacementplot
Restart interval - How often to save the restart file (Every DAC is verygood)
Restart file name - Restart file name (take default usually)
Active Log File name - Where the current parameters are stored after eachDAC
Test ParameterLimits
Maximum Crack Length
Maximum Time
Maximum Cycle
Maximum Crack Growth Rate
Maximum Temperature Error
Maximum Stress Intensity

13. Perform a single DAC to check the clip gage measurements.
Check load/displacementplot to see how linear the hysteresis loop is. Adjust the clip gage orlet it settle into the notched specimen.
When hysteresisloop is linear between Upper Window and Lower Window values, check thecrack length. Of crack length is off, adjust the Effective Modulus in theMaterial Properties section. To determine what the new value should be,use the Calculation Routines module. Pick the 'Calculate Effective Modulusfrom Crack Length' to obtain the new Effective Modulus. Enter the new Modulusin the Material Property section. Repeat until the correct crack lengthis obtain (to a reasonable degree).

14. At least one optical crack length must be takenduring the test (ASTM E 647) to obtain the correctvaluesof the crack length.

15. Pecrack material using 'Decreasing Stress IntensityPrecracking Control' in Test Control Functions Module.

Mts 458 Controller

16. Test material.
Choosetype of test from Test Control Functions module.

17. Shutting down test.
Followdirections in 'Shutting Down a Test,' another part of this handout.

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