Institute for Sustainability and
Innovation in Structural Engineering


University of Coimbra

University of Coimbra

Laboratory of the Civil Engineering Department

The Laboratory of the Civil Engineering Department University of Coimbra is divided into two areas: Part A for testing of structures and Part B for testing of materials.

In part A there are two reaction walls to allow the application of horizontal forces on the experimental models; in the adjacent area, the slab has 1.00 m thickness and is perforated to allow the anchorage of reaction frames and the application of forces of high magnitude. Adjacent to part A of the laboratory there is an external zone for the storage of materials. Both parts of the laboratory are equipped with cranes.

In the laboratory are developed three main types of activities:

  • Research work in several fields: steel and composite structures; concrete structures, steel and composite joints; fire tests in structures and components, among others;
  • Specialized services of civil engineering to the industry: tests for mechanical characterization of concrete; tests for mechanical characterization of steel; tests on steel and concrete components; tests on wood structures, among others;
  • Educational support to classes, through the realization of experimental tests.

Physical Installations

The laboratory of testing materials and structures has 1280 m2 of area with 8m height approximately. The area of the storage zone is about 300 m2.

Existing Equipment

The laboratory is equipped with several types of equipment which allow the realization of a large number of tests, including complex tests such as cyclic tests and fire tests in structures or components. The main types of equipment are listed below:

  • Cranes (2 units, with capacities 200 kN and 60 kN);
  • Dynamic Loading Jacks (4 units with capacities of 300 kN, 600 kN and 100 kN (2 units));
  • Steel frames (several);
  • Load cells (several, with capacities between 50 kN and 1000 kN);
  • Linear displacement transducers – LVDT’s (several);
  • Furnaces (2 units);
  • Universal testing machines (3 units with capacities of 1000 kN (2 units) and 300 kN);
  • Machine for test concrete (2 units);
  • Data Logger TML and accessories (2 units);
  • Climatic chambers (2 units);
  • Cement mixers (several).


FIRELab is a Fire Engineering Laboratory at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Coimbra, in Portugal. Its main objective is to study the fire behaviour of civil construction solutions, including their reaction to fire and/or fire resistance rating.

FIRELab also collaborates with other research laboratories, universities and companies in the construction and industry sector with the aim of efficiently contributing to technological and scientific development in the field of fire safety engineering in buildings. FIRElab intends to:

  • Keep a continuous focus on innovation and research for the development of safe and sustainable building construction systems;
  • Contribute to the competitiveness in the field of fire safety in the country and worldwide;
  • Provide technical information and improvements of existing standards and specifications;
  • Bring new insights into advanced performance-based fire design;
  • Provide consultancy and advanced training in the field of fire safety


The Additive Manufacturing Laboratory, located at the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Coimbra, was designed to innovate different industrial sectors with more sustainable and accessible tools that may be employed at the different life stages of a component. Several aspects must be explored to produce a component, from the creation of 3D models to its qualification at a mechanical and metallurgical level.

For the manufacturing of components, the laboratory has two main techniques: Laser-Metal Deposition (LMD) and Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM). In both cases, the processes are automated through industrial robots and controlled by an application centre where the process is monitored. The laboratory explores these technologies focusing on different activities, such as:

  • Robot programming;
  • Process simulation (digital twins);
  • Component optimizations (topology optimization);
  • Sensor integration;
  • Data analysis through regression and neural models;
  • Production of components of different levels of complexity;
  • Mechanical characterization of the components;
  • Analysis of metallurgical.