Institute for Sustainability and
Innovation in Structural Engineering


University of Minho

University of Minho

Laboratory of the Civil Engineering Department

The Laboratory of the Civil Engineering Department from the University of Minho belongs to ISISE and is divided into three Laboratories: The Laboratory of Structures (LEST) for testing materials, soils, rocks and structures, EcoLab for buildings physics, energy and life cycle analysis and Laboratory of Highways (PavLab) for testing of asphalt and road pavements.

This laboratory carries out experimental works along three lines: a) Pedagogical tests in the scope of different curricular units; b) Tests in the frame of research, development and innovation activities; c) Tests in the frame of applied research and consultancy activities in Civil Engineering.

The Laboratory of Structures (LEST)

Physical Installations

The physical installations of LEST have an area of about 2000 m2, in three different buildings of the campus.

Existing Equipment

LEST is equipped with several equipment which allows performing a large number of tests, including complex tests such as cyclic tests in structures, components, materials, including geomaterials. The main types of equipment are listed below:

  • Cranes (3 units, with capacities 20 kN, 50 kN and 200 kN);
  • Two reaction slabs, one unidirectional reaction wall and one biaxial reaction wall;
  • Servo-controlled systems (7 units up to 500 kN);
  • Uniaxial shaking table test with 3 × 3 m2 and 3 tons payload, with a 6-camera DIC system with 166 Hz acquisition single 3D model data acquisition.
  • Large uniaxial machine for panel testing (1 unit, with capacities of 2000 kN in compression and 200 kN in tension);
  • Electromechanical precision test machine with non-contacting strain measurement (1 unit, with capacity of 100 kN);
  • Fatigue machine (1 unit, with capacity of +/-1000 kN);
  • Universal testing machine (1 unit with capacity of 2500 kN);
  • Steel frames (several);
  • Climatic chambers (5 units);
  • Multiple dataloggers and sensors (load cells, LVDTs, accelerometers, clip gauges, …) from NI, HMB, RDP, PCB;
  • State-of-the-art equipment for NDT testing;
  • Cement mixer (1 unit);
  • Front loading oedometers (7 units) and Rowe cell (1 unit);
  • Direct/residual shear strength apparatus (1 units);
  • Bishop-Wesley cells (2 units) and multiple classic triaxial testing chambers.
  • Triaxial rock machine;
  • Load frame/based triaxial soil testing system;
  • 3D Printers for cementitious and polymers additive manufacturing.

Laboratory of Highways (PavLab)

Physical Installations

PavLab has an area of about 400 m2, where laboratory and field equipment are installed and parked.

Existing Equipment

PavLab is equipped with equipment for the characterization of bitumen, bituminous mixtures and road pavements. The main types of equipment are listed below:

  • Servo-hydraulic fatigue machine with 1 actuator;
  • Servo-hydraulic fatigue machine with 2 actuators;
  • Reflective Cracking Device;
  • Four-point bending beam device;
  • Three-point bending beam device;
  • Marshall test;
  • Wheel tracking device;
  • Leutner shear test;
  • Dynamic shear rheometer (2 units);
  • Brookfield viscometer (2 units);
  • Rolling Thin-Film Oven Test;
  • Pressure Aging Vessel;
  • Falling Weight Deflectometer;
  • Road surface profiler;
  • Tyre-road noise measurement device according to the Close Proximity Method;
  • Bituminous mixture production and compaction devices;
  • Climatic chambers (2 units).


Physical Installations

The physical installations of the Building Physics and Technology Lab (EcoLab) are located on the second floor of Building 3 of the Azurém Campus and have an approximate area of 150 m2.

Existing Equipment

EcoLab main fields of expertise include the development of sustainable, innovative and more suitable construction products; Building sustainability assessment; Life-cycle analysis of constructions and products; Environmental Product Declarations; Development of strategies and technologies towards nearly-zero emissions buildings; Design for Climate Change; Circular economy in the construction sector; Assessment of the Indoor Environmental Quality; Comfort and energy efficiency; Hygrothermal behavior of buildings; Eco-efficient construction materials; Infrared thermal imaging; Thermal and acoustic performance of buildings and construction solutions; Room acoustics; Characterization and study of vernacular buildings; Non-structural rehabilitation. The main types of equipment are listed below:

  • HotBox test chambers to evaluate the thermal conductivity of building products or building elements;
  • Thermo-acoustic test chamber;
  • Portable weather stations (2);
  • Infrared thermal camera ThermaCAM T400;
  • Thermal microclimate datalogger;
  • Minneapolis blower door;
  • Large size 3D printer;
  • Sound level meters, pink noise generator, sound source and tapping machine for acoustics test;
  • Temperature and relative humidity sensors;
  • Carbon dioxide sensor;
  • Formaldehyde meter;
  • Ozone meter;
  • Multi-function measuring instrument TESTO 435;
  • VOC meter;
  • Atmos 12 DPX radon monitor.