Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Structures and Solid Mechanics

Overview

Director David Fleming, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering

The Structures and Solid Mechanics Laboratory supports research and teaching activities focusing on characterizing the mechanical behavior of metallic, plastic and composite structures. Behavior of interest includes static strength, stability, transient dynamic and time-dependent response. Research has focused on damage-propagation in laminated composites; impact and crashworthiness properties of high-energy absorbing composite structures; tensile, compressive and shear strength of advanced materials; modal dynamic characteristics of damaged composites; fracture toughness; and time-dependent viscoelastic behavior of reinforced plastics. Research has been funded by NASA, NSF, McDonnell Douglas, and by a number of local industries.The Laboratory is equipped with Baldwin and MTS hydraulic axial-test machines, an instrumented DYNATUP drop-weight impact machine, and an Unholtz-Dickie Vibration Control System with sinusoidal, digital transient/shock and random vibration input capabilities. With a research focus on composite materials, the Laboratory is equipped with facilities for hand lay-up of these materials. These facilities include a fume hood, vacuum pumps, lay-up area, freezer, and related equipment. Computers used in support of experimentation are equipped with National Instruments LabView software, which is used for data acquisition and -reduction.

More About This Lab

The Structural Mechanics Laboratory supports research and teaching activities focusing on characterizing the mechanical behavior of metallic, plastic and composite structures. Behavior of interest includes static strength, stability, transient dynamic and time-dependent response. Research has focused on damage-propagation in laminated composites; impact and crashworthiness properties of high-energy absorbing composite structures; tensile, compressive and shear strength of advanced materials; modal dynamic characteristics of damaged composites; fracture toughness; and time-dependent viscoelastic behavior of reinforced plastics. Research has been funded by NASA, NSF, McDonnell Douglas, and by a number of local industries.

The Laboratory is equipped with Baldwin and MTS hydraulic axial-test machines, an instrumented Dynatup drop-weight impact machine, and an Unholtz-Dickie Vibration Control System with sinusoidal, digital transient/shock and random vibration input capabilities. With a research focus on composite materials, the Laboratory is equipped with facilities for hand lay-up of these materials. These facilities include a fume hood, vacuum pumps, lay-up area, freezer, and related equipment. Computers used in support of experimentation are equipped with National Instruments LabView software, which is used for data acquisition and -reduction.

Personnel

Faculty and students throughout the Florida Tech College of Engineering use the Structural Mechanics Laboratory. The coordinator of the laboratory is Dr. David C. Fleming from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Compression Compression Failure
Graduate student holding a graphite/epoxy plate crushed in uniaxial compression Compression failure of a fiberglass composite

Facility and Equipment

The equipment in the laboratory includes:

  • 60 kip capacity, manually controlled hydraulic uniaxial testing machine
  • Dynatup 8250 falling weight drop tower
  • Unholtz-Dickie vibration testing machine
  • Tenney 3' 3' 2' oven with programmable controller
  • Fume hood