The Carleton Laboratory serves as the central laboratory for all experimental work performed in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. It is the largest laboratory at Columbia University’s Morningside campus and is equipped for teaching and research in all types of engineering materials and structural elements as well as damage detection, fatigue, vibrations, and sensor networks. The Laboratory has a full-time staff, who provides assistance in teaching and research. The Laboratory is equipped with a strong floor that allows for the testing of full-scale structural components such as bridge decks, beams, and columns. Furthermore, it is equipped with universal testing machines ranging in capacity from 150 kN (30,000 lb) to 3 MN (600,000 lb). The seamless integration of both research and teaching in the same shared space allows civil engineering students of all degree tracks to gain a unique appreciation of modern experimental approaches to material science and engineering mechanics.
The Carleton Laboratory operates as a service center available to all departments of the University with priority given to Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics users. The majority of the equipment within the Laboratory may be used for nominal usage fees by students, staff, and faculty to achieve their research mission (pending successful completion of necessary general training courses and machine-specific training).
The Carleton Laboratory serves as the hub of instruction for classes offered by the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, most prominently ENME E3114 Experimental Mechanics of Materials, ENME E3106 Dynamics and Vibrations, and CIEN E3141 Soil Mechanics. The Laboratory also hosts and advises the AISC Steel Bridge Team in the design, fabrication, and construction phases of their bridge, which goes to regional and national competition annually.
Additionally, the Carleton Laboratory has a fully outfitted machine shop capable of machining parts, fittings, and testing enclosures in steel, non-ferrous metals, acrylic, and wood. The Carleton Machine Shop’s machine tool pool is state of the art, either of the latest generation or recently rebuilt and modernized. The machine shop is open for use by civil engineering students performing independent research and is supported by the Lab’s senior lab technician.