facebook pixel Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

Idaho State University engineering department, students get two more testing facilities – drop/impact site, asphalt lab – up and running

November 17, 2017

 Photo of Drop and Impact Pad (DRIP) Outdoor Facility
Photo of the revamped Drop and Impact Pad (DRIP) Outdoor Facility

POCATELLO – Another two Idaho State University civil engineering testing facilities, built and refurbished by students, are ready to be used for teaching, research and testing by the University and general communities.

The ISU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering refurbished the Drop and Impact Pad Outdoor Facility in the Idaho State University Research Park located off Alvin Ricken Drive near the Idaho Accelerator Center. It has also built a new Asphalt Laboratory located in Room 116 of the Lillibridge Engineering Building on the ISU Pocatello campus.

The Drop and Impact Pad (DRIP) Outdoor Facility is a unique facility that was built in early 2000s for drop testing of nuclear canisters, but it was never utilized. The reinforced 169-square-foot concrete pad is 6 feet deep. It is armored with an 64-square-feet, 2-inch-thick steel plate on top.

 DRIP can be used to test a variety of structural and non-structural elements against drop and impact loads. During testing, the specimen will be placed on the strong pad and a crane used to lift up and release a heavy object to impact the specimen. Since it is an outdoor facility, there is no limit on the crane size.

“The student employees, with the supervision of the faculty, revived this wonderful testing facility by leveling off the surroundings, creating wide-road access to the pad, wire-brushing and painting the steel plate on top. They are also working to install a sign and entrance gate,” said Mustafa Mashal, ISU assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

There is road access for all types of cranes and other heavy equipment to DRIP, which can be accessed via American Road. DRIP offers plenty of space around the pad for storage and parking.

“We are also pleased to announce that the Asphalt Lab is 100-percent completed,” Mashal said. “We have a number of our graduates who end up working for Idaho Transportation Department doing pavement design and testing. We believe the addition of the Asphalt Lab will be very beneficial for them and it also complements the existing labs and capabilities within the department.”

The Asphalt Lab was completed by Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering student employees, who also built and renovated other labs. The $6,000 lab also received financial support from the College of Science and Engineering from an internal grant to Dr. James Mahar, STEM Undergraduate Funds from the ISU Office of Research and from Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Funds.

“We have good teaching and some research capability in the new Asphalt Lab,” Mashal added. “We envison collaborating with the Idaho Transportation Department, the City of Pocatello Engineering Division and other interested parties on topics related to pavement design and testing.”

This year, as previously announced, the ISU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering opened a Structural Laboratory and upgraded a Structural Dynamics Laboratory at the ISU Engineering Research Complex in Pocatello to test structures for their strength and earthquake preparedness. The student employees with the supervision of the faculty also re-organized the Structures Research Laboratory, Concrete Laboratory, and Civil Materials Laboratory.

For more information, contact the ISU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at engineering@isu.edu or (208) 282-2902.