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Advanced Concrete Research Lab

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Advanced Concrete Research Laboratory

The Donald G. Fears Structural Engineering Laboratory was enlarged during the summer of 2008 with the addition of a 1,800-square-foot lab building dedicated to studying shrinkage and curl of concrete slabs on grade.

This construction process was unique for OU; it was entirely built by CEES students.  Five students

  • Kyle Haskett, Norman, Okla. senior;
  • Chris Davis, Jones, Okla. senior;
  • Chris Hill, Edmond, Okla. junior;
  • Marissa Samaripa, Oklahoma City senior; and    
  • Michael Rice, Nacogdoches, Texas sophomore

- spent  the summer constructing the structure under the mentorship of assistant professor Chris Ramseyer.  The students dug the footings, laid out the anchor bolts and rebar, poured the foundation, erected the steel frames and secondary structural elements, and insulated and paneled the walls and ceilings.  The only sub-contracted work was the casting of the interior slab and the electrical work.  While the experience was guided by Ramseyer, he “did not double check any of the construction measurements.”  At first the students were hesitant about the process, but were allowed to learn from their mistakes.  And yes, mistakes were made and corrected.  “I didn’t see any mistakes that hadn’t been made at some point by a contractor. I’m proud of what these students have accomplished,” Ramseyer stated.  Students also learned some of the difficulties of construction and how to make corrections to problems in a timely fashion.

The new Advanced Concrete Research Laboratory at Fears Lab has seven test beds for studying the long-term behavior of concrete slabs on grade.  The test beds allow 3-foot-by-20- foot slabs to be tested with full restraint at each end of the specimen while the top surface is exposed to a controlled environment and the bottom surface is exposed to soil temperatures and moisture.  The construction of the test facility and the first series of tests are financially supported by CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp. of Cypress, Calif.  

Placing a column for the shrinkage and curling lab
(L to R) Dr. Ramseyer, Chris Hill, Chris Davis & Mike Rice placing a column for the shrinkage and curling Lab
Interior of research space
Interior view of the completed research space. Note the test specimen located in the floor.
Exterior of research space