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On-Site Civil Infrastructure Studies

Mobile Civil Infrastructure Laboratory with one person looking in the undercarriage and another, wearing a reflective work vest, inspecting the side wall

The Ohio University Mobile Civil Infrastructure Laboratory (OUMCIL) is a mobile facility housed in a semi truck equipped with state of the art equipment that allows researchers to conduct in-depth on-site investigations of the “state of good repair” of pavements, bridges, structures, etc. The laboratory is equipped to conduct coring and run a full range of tests of materials properties of asphalt and Portland cement concrete pavement systems required as inputs in the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG). Additional capabilities include non-destructive testing of pavements, monitoring of weather and climate, traffic measurements, ability to monitor structures including pile foundations and spread footings, and quality control of construction work. By enabling the on-site testing of material properties, the laboratory reduces the chance for distorted results that can come from settling of material specimens during long-distance travel, which can be as great as 30%. The OUMCIL is used for in-situ studies, forensic studies of pavements, load rating determinations of bridges and culverts, and so on. Much of the actual laboratory work conducted on the truck is performed by graduate students, who gain valuable empirical experience while using state-of-the-practice equipment to collect the best possible data for their research projects.

The OUMCIL is being employed on several projects that showcase its versatility. These include an extensive measurement effort of ground movements and soil stability along the bypass of Nelsonville on US Route 33, validating ODOT’s rating factor methodology for metal pipe and arch culverts under shallow cover, estimation of service life for various types of culverts in Ohio, and in continued monitoring of the test pavements in New York.