CORVALLIS, Ore. – The new Kiewit Materials Performance Lab had been completed at Oregon State University. The lab, in Merryfield Hall on the OSU campus, will allow College of Engineering researchers to better evaluate the constructability and performance of materials and structural systems.
Kiewit, the nation’s third largest construction company, contributed the lead gift that enabled the renovation. Other project partners included Granite Construction, Hamilton Construction, Stacy & Witbeck, and T. Gerding Construction.
Practices in the construction industry are limited by the materials used, according to David Trejo, a professor of construction engineering management and holder of the Hal Pritchett Chair at OSU. Systematic, science-based research will lead to more efficient, cost-effective construction methods and longer-lasting, reliable structures, he said.
Research will be done, for instance, to test different concrete mixes and determine if current specifications are needed or if they just add unnecessary risks and costs, sometimes at taxpayer expense on projects such as public roads. Studies will also be done on why materials and structures deteriorate, to ensure that costly infrastructure does not deteriorate prematurely, or become unsafe and fail.
The new lab will make all of these research projects possible, Trejo said, while improving the engineering curriculum and allowing students to have more research experiences.
“We really can’t do any of this research unless we have the infrastructure,” said Trejo. “We’ve been very fortunate to have these contractors provide support to build the lab.”