Research facilities

Environmental Engineering Laboratory

This lab houses standard and advanced equipment to conduct water, wastewater, solid waste and greenhouse gas mitigation studies.

The available equipment includes:

  • Gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC-MS)
  • Gas chromatograph/flame ionization detector (GC-FID)
  • Gas chromatograph/thermal conductivity detector (GC-TCD)
  • Gas chromatograph/electron capture detector (GC-ECD)
  • Portable Micro GC natural gas analyzer
  • HPLC (high performance liquid chromatograph)
  • MiniFID portable heated total hydrocarbon analyzer
  • TOC (total organic carbon) analyzer
  • UV VIS spectrophotometer
  • PeCOD chemical oxygen demand analyser
  • Respirometry
  • Wet chemistry facilities including HACH methods

Structures Labs

The Structures Lab is equipped to do advanced analysis and conventional testing. It includes:

  • A mechanical system of loading steel frames for testing structural components and prototypes under vertical and/or lateral loads
  • An MTS loading machine of 2,000 kN capacity
  • A set of hydraulic actuators of 150 to 1500 kN load capacity for testing under static, dynamic or fatigue loading

It's variety of data-acquisition systems include:

  • Laser displacement transducer
  • High-resolution distributed optical fiber temperature and strain sensing system

The lab also includes an environmental chamber (10 x 2.75 x 2.75 m) for testing structural components under variable temperatures (from -68 to +85 C) and relative humidity (from 20 to 95 per cent). And, the Structures High Bay includes a shaking frame for application of dynamic loading and simulation of seismic excitations on structural components.

AMA Active Traffic and Demand Management Laboratory and the Visualization Lab

The AMA lab is a world-class research centre equipped with transportation modelling and traffic microsimulation capabilities.

Decision-support tools include:

  • VISSIM and PARAMICS traffic microsimulation software
  • ALOGIT software for discrete choice analysis
  • MIXEM, an in-house mathematical modelling and analytical package for analyzing mixed traffic and real-time communication links to monitoring and control devices throughout Calgary’s arterial and transit networks

The lab also hosts a variety of transit data including automatic passenger counts, LRT and bus ridership data and General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data. 


Road Safety Research Lab

This laboratory includes a state-of-the-art driving simulator that provides the research infrastructure required to advance the state of knowledge in the field of road safety. This system is capable of taking driver behavioural responses to design, operations, policy, weather, technology and enforcement into consideration. The driver simulator is focused on acquiring a deeper understanding of driver behavior and responses to emerging vehicular and roadway technologies including:

  • Human behavior
  • Impacts of new vehicle systems
  • Road, traffic and enforcement systems
  • Monitoring and surveillance systems
  • Impact of macro environment (with special emphasis on weather, land use, socio-economic influence, safety culture and mode)

Asphalt Lab

This lab contains specialized equipment including:

  • Kinexus Dynamic Shear Rheometer (from Malvern Panalytical) to determine viscous and elastic components of asphalt binder/blend at intermediate and high-service temperatures
  • Bending Beam Rheometer (from Canon) to determine low-temperature properties of asphalt binders/blends from their tensile creep characteristics
  • Rolling thin-film oven (RTFO)
  • Pressure-aging vessel to study the effects of production of paving mix using artificial aging of asphalt
  • Brookfield 75 Viscometer to measure viscosity at high temperatures

In this lab, the PAV test is used for the simulation of a long-term aging (estimated five to seven years) in a pavement as well as the changes occurred in asphalt during its service life. For mix testing, the lab is equipped with:

  • Superpave Gyratory Compactor (from Troxler Labs) that simulates real compacting conditions performed in the construction of asphalt pavements
  • Hamburg Wheel-Tracking Tester (from Con Tec) to determine rutting susceptibility of paving mixes
  • Universal Testing Machine (25 kN from IPC Global) to conduct dynamic modulus, repeated load and static creep tests

Bioretention Field Laboratory

Leading-edge stormwater management research is conducted at the Bioretention Research Facility (BRF) located in Okotoks, Alberta. The BRF consists of two components: 24 mesocosm bioretention beds (each 2 m by 2 m in area) and a macrocosm biorentention system (approximately 3,800 m2 in area). The mesocosm beds, which were constructed using three types of soil media and vegetated with three types of vegetation, are for examining the roles of soil media, vegetation and their interactions on bioretention performance. The macrocosm system is used to investigate interactions with groundwater.

Conventional/Unconventional Hydrocarbon Characterization and Processing Lab

Research is being conducted using a number of advanced apparatus to test the geotechnical behavior of clay shales, shale rocks and oils sands. These include:

  • High-pressure (20 MPa) and high-temperature (200 C) triaxial apparatus
  • High-pressure (70MPa) triaxial apparatus with P-and S-wave measurement capabilities
  • Direct shear and double shear boxes for testing rock joints

Specially designed and developed equipment to conduct gas-hydrate-related research includes:

  • Three high-pressure (20 MPa) and two low-pressure (up to 4 MPa) triaxial apparatus with environmental control for testing soils at temperatures down to -20 C
  • Small strain measurements including P- and S-wave
  • Local axial strain measurements
  • Resonant column to enable both static and dynamic properties of hydrate-bearing soils to be determined
  • Permeability measurements

Equipment to conduct gassy-soils-related research includes:

  • Double-walled triaxial apparatus capable of testing gassy or unsaturated soils
  • 2 MPa capacity cell
  • Static or dynamic loading
  • Stress path loading
  • Internal axial and radial deformation
  • Ultrasonic P- and S-wave testing
  • Specialized circulation system.

Pipeline Geotechnical Engineering Research Lab

The department has developed a large test chamber for determining soil-pipe interaction of up to 24” diameter pipes under axial, horizontal and transverse loading conditions to assess long-term behaviour of buried pipelines.

For permafrost and cold regions research, the department houses a large cold room (-20 C) that can accommodate a number of geotechnical test apparatus for conducting research intothe impacts of climate change, permafrost degradation, etc. on soil behavior. In addition, the lab contains a number of standard geotechnical testing apparatus (triaxial apparatus, oedometer, shear box) for routine geotechnical testing.

Biomedical/biomechanical Engineering Research Lab

Biomedical/biomechanical research is being conducted in collaboration with the Cumming School of Medicine and other engineering departments across Schulich. Combined research facilities cover multi-scale bio mechanics of molecules, cells, tissues and systems; biaxial material testing of tissues; 3D robotics for joint biomechanics; multi-photon microscopy; bioreactors for tissue engineering; imaging (micro-CT, high-field MRI and OCT); and wet labs for histology, cell and molecular biology.