Laboratory testing plays a key role in developing a basic understanding and characterization of the mechanical response of soils. Over the past 30 years, the University of British Columbia has developed an extensive range of state-of-the-art laboratory testing apparatus and data acquisition systems to conduct fundamental laboratory research work. The main research focus has been in the area of fundamental soil element behavior combined with other macro-level testing including geo-synthetics and soil structure systems. The versatility of the in-house equipment has allowed accurate laboratory simulation of a wide spectrum of field loading conditions. In addition to the testing of relatively undisturbed soil specimens, sample re-constitution techniques have been developed to closely replicate insitu encountered soil fabrics.
The current inventory of laboratory testing capabilities, most of which have been equipped with computer-controlled loading/data acquisition, include the devices for:
- Static and cyclic triaxial (stress/strain path) testing;
- Static and cyclic hollow cylinder torsional shear (stress/strain path) testing;
- Static and cyclic simple shear testing (both NGI and Cambridge types);
- Ring shear testing;
- Gradient-ratio testing for hydraulic conductivity measurement of geo-synthetic interfaces;
- Static and dynamic geo-grid pull-out testing.
Most of the test equipment and instrumentation has been designed and developed using the expertise of in-house personnel supported by the excellent workshop facilities both in relation to mechanical and electronic aspects.
The geotechnical laboratory research work will also have the opportunity to take advantage of the new multi-degree-of-freedom shake table of the UBC Earthquake Engineering Facility (EERF), which is scheduled to be in operation in 2002, for physical modeling research work.