CIVL 312


Course Title and Number

CE 102: Materials Testing Laboratory

Catalog Description

Methods and instruments used in the determination of the strength and elastic properties of materials of engineering. Experiments verifying the principles of CE 101.


CE 020, CE 101.
By topic: Principles of force systems, static equilibrium, stress and strain, deformation; centroid, product and moments of inertia, including principle axes, rotational transformation; sketching and visualization; computer applications, including advanced spreadsheet design and/or programming in a scientific language.

Textbook and Other Required Material

R. S. Mills (2001) - Experimental Mechanics of Materials     

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  • Emphasize basic understanding of structural behavior
  • Observe and study characteristics of a variety of structural component types
  • Develop proficiency with analytical tools for mathematical modeling of structural elements and systems
  • Learn basic concepts of experiment design and structural design
  • Develop techniques of effective technical communication
  • Experience first-hand issues of teamwork, coordination and planning
  • Apply a variety of methods for the analysis of experimental data, including statistical methods and probability theory
  • Address issues of laboratory safety and of economy
  • Provide a solid foundation for subsequent study of more advanced topics
  • Review and reinforce fundamental skills in mathematics, science, engineering statics, strength of materials and computer applications
  • Prepare students for successful completion of the professional FE examination
Topics Covered
  • Technical communications, both oral and written
  • Applied statistical analysis and probability theory
  • Computer applications in the engineering laboratory, including technical report writing, advanced spreadsheet analysis, and automated data acquisition
  • Laboratory instrumentation and the design of experiments
  • Laboratory practices, including safety
  • Elastic and inelastic properties of engineering materials, including transient properties and composite materials
  • Forensic engineering, progression of failure, energy dissipation and ductility
  • Uniaxial testing, including elastic and inelastic buckling
  • Flexural testing
  • Strain gages, including rosettes, circuits, and stress-strain transformations
  • Stress concentrations, observed through photoelastic experiment
  • Academic honesty and ethical responsibility


Students completing the course will be able to:

  • Understand and appreciate the physical representation of symbolic formulas from strength of materials
  • Design, evaluate and apply experimental methods, including collecting, summarizing and interpreting numerical data
  • Communicate technical information precisely and effectively, both orally and in written forms
  • Effectively and ethically use computers for a variety of applications
  • Apply safety procedures when working in a hazardous environment
Class/Laboratory Schedule

One hundred and seventy minutes a week laboratory (lecture and activity)
Contribution of Course to Meet the Professional Component

Engineering Sciences
Engineering Design
Relationship of Course to Program Objectives

The course supports the achievement of the following ABET program outcomes and objectives (reference Engineering Criteria 2000, Criterion 3).

  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • Ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • Ability to identify, formulate and evaluate engineering problems
  • Understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

The course supports the achievement of the following CE program objectives.

  • Supply a rigorous, balanced, comprehensive and contemporary curriculum enabling exposure to many facets of civil engineering, including both breadth and selected depth elements common to the profession.
  • Provide an extensive education in mathematics, sciences and engineering topics, including design.
  • Develop valuable personal abilities in oral and written communication, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork.
  • Enable appropriate use of technology, including computational tools.
  • Instill in graduates a sense of coherence, respectfulness, citizenship, community service, and ethical responsibility.


Weekly written laboratory assignments, discussed in class for self-evaluation and collected for numerical grading and written feedback
One 2-hour comprehensive final exam
Instructor-student interaction, individually and in small groups, during laboratory activities
Semi-annual student evaluation of teaching surveys
Student survey question(s) on the final exam
Prepared by

Russell S. Mills