Structures Research Overiew at UNH

The Structures group at UNH is involved with a research and outreach activities that range from the impact of a changing climate on transportation infrastructure elements ( to STEM outreach in Johannesburg, South Africa (  

Africa group 2019

A main research thrust at UNH is in the area of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM).  SHM is an important element for sustainable management of transportation infrastructure systems such as bridges, tunnels, buildings, and dams. Our research focuses on bridge structural health monitoring, in particular the implementation of bridge condition assessment using static and dynamic non-destructive tests.  We have instrumented three bridges in New Hampshire and two in Massachusetts. We also use state of the art technology to collected structural response information, such as wireless gauges and digital image correlation

Wireless gauges Memorial Bridge testing
Memorial Bridge Digital Image Correlation






Spotlight Project: The Living Bridge

The Living Bridge

Imagine a bridge crossing over a tidal estuary, a local landmark that deeply resonates with an entire community; a bridge that is a living laboratory for researchers, engineers, future engineers and the general public. This bridge is instrumented with sensors that capture structural performance, traffic  patterns, environmental conditions, the behavior of innovative bridge design elements and enable and promote community engagement. The information collected with these sensors is shared with researchers, bridge designers and the bridge owner, but also, where appropriate, with K-12 classrooms and the public. This bridge has the capability to advance all aspects of community engagement with infrastructure, clean energy innovation in tidal energy conversion, energy storage, structural and environmental impact and social perception of our engineered environment. This is the vision behind the Living Bridge project.  Working with mechanical engineers, ocean engineers, social scientists and industry partners, the Living Bridge is advancing bridge design and management and is the only tidal turbine deployed at the bridge in the US ( as of August 2019).  

Spotlight: Outreach

Student built tower
Over 300 Seventh Grade Students Visit CEE at UNH

In early June, over 300 seventh grade students from New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, visited the CEE department at UNH.   While studying plate tectonics and earthquakes in their science class, these students designed and build pasta towers to be tested on the earthquake simulator/shake table in the Structural High Bay in Kingsbury Hall.  Shokoufeh Zargar, a doctoral candidate in CEE, demonstrated natural modes of vibration before the destroyed the tower with additional weight and vibrations.  During this visit the students, also worked with Professors  Eshan Dave and Jo Sias and their doctoral students, Chibuke Ogbo, Kate Haslett and Runhua Zhang, to break concrete and asphalt under different temperature.  Professor Nancy Kinner gave them a crash course in coastal response using the Mc Farland Flume in Gregg Hall.  Professor Martin Wosnik gave them a tour of the Flow Physics Facility, aka the wind tunnel.  The visit ended at Holloway Commons, which is always a big hit with middle school students.

Spotlight: Education

The main laboratory facilities for structural engineering at the University of New Hampshire are housed in the structural high bay in Kingsbury Hall. 

The structural high bay laboratory is approximately 60 feet by 30 feet with an approximately 24-foot ceiling.  The high bay is outfitted with a 10-ton crane that spans the length of the laboratory.  This facility is also equipped with a strong floor and structural tie-downs spaced at 4-feet on center in both directions with a 50-kip capacity.

                                                                                                                                                 Figure 1 Instron Testing Machine

UNH Testing Machine

Universal Testing Machine                                       
The Universal Testing Machine is a 1335 load frame with a 225-kip capacity. The maximum specimen size is 3 ft x 2 ft x 4 ft as shown in Figure 1.

"Green Frame"
There is also a testing frame for larger specimens with a 300 kip capacity.

Earthquake Simulator
There is a 5-foot square 3-inch thick aluminum sliding plate mounted to the steel plate with four Danaher Motion linear profile bearings. A TestLine, 22-kip Linear Hydraulic Actuator with a 6-inch stroke is mounted to the steel plate powered by a 40 gpm hydraulic pump, as shown in Figure 4. The System can be displacement-controlled through an LVDT or acceleration-controlled by an accelerometer.

A National Instrument Data Acquisition System, NI-SCX-1001 12-slot chassis is also available in the High Bay iwth LabView software. This DAQ system will be available to supplement the DAQ needs of this project.

UNH Earthquake Simulator

                                                                  Figure 2 Earthquake Simulator 

Fatigue Testing Set Up
There is a 110-kip fatigue rated actuator with a reaction block and support bracket, as shown in Figures 3 and 4. Both the reaction block and support bracket are secured to the strong floor in structural high bay laboratory.

Fatigue Testing Set up

Figure 3 - Fatigue Testing Set up at UNH

Figure 4 below - Schematic of the Fatigue Testing Set up at UNH

Schematic of Fatigue Testing Set up




Student Laboratory
Wind Tunnel

UNH Wind Tunnel

At 300 feet long, the new Flow Physics Facility (FPF) is the world’s largest scientific quality boundary-layer wind tunnel facility. It will help engineers and scientists better understand the dynamics of turbulent boundary layers, informing the aerodynamics of situations such as atmospheric wind over the ocean, the flow of air over a commercial airplane or of sea water over a submarine. 

Structural Instrumentation & Data Acquisition System
A National Instrument Data Acquisition System, NI-SCX-1001 12-slot chassis is also available in the high bay with LabView software.  This DAQ system will be available to supplement the DAQ needs of this project. 

Wireless Sensor Network

The Civil Engineering Department owns three wireless accelerometers (Figs. 5), four laboratory PCB accelerometers, eight Bridge Diagnostic strain tranducers (see Fig. 6), four bi-axial titlmeters and numerous foil strain gauges both full and quarter bridge.

Bridge Diagnostic Strain Transducer

There are two data acquisition chassis available at UNH.  Both systems are National Instrument product.  For laboratory applications, there is a NI-SCX-1001 12-slot chassis is also available in the high bay with LabView software.  For field application, there is a NI CompactDAQ with a field computer and enclosure. There are 14 strain cards, two thermocouple cards and two accelerometer cards. This DAQ system will be available to supplement the DAQ needs of this project.

Digital Image Correlation 
Six Point Gray 2Megapixel digital cameras, with tripods, the VICSnap ® controlling software and VIC2D and VIC3D post-processing software are available for digital image correlation from Correlated Solutions, INC. 

Structures Faculty