Fritz Engineering Laboratory
From the Panama Canal, to the Golden Gate, Chesapeake Bay, George Washington and (Niagara Falls) Rainbow bridges, to city skylines all around the world and the first communications satellite to orbit above it—the historic structure that is Fritz Lab occupies a venerable place in the story of modern structural engineering. Originally built in 1909, new construction in 1955 added two high-bay testing areas to the research facility, one of which houses the 5-million-pound testing machine pictured at left.
M.Eng. in structural engineering students use Fritz Lab to test structural members in their Structural Behavior Laboratory course. The lab is active daily, testing structural members and components for industry and research. A walk through the lab every day exposes Lehigh students to structural failures of all kinds, simply by observing the tests occurring there.
The American Society of Civil Engineers declared Fritz Lab a national historic civil engineering landmark in 1991.
The Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) at Lehigh University is an engineering research center sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Its mission is to conduct cutting-edge research for the civil and marine infrastructure.
ATLSS provides an ideal testing environment for academic, industrial, and government projects. Here, researchers can observe the expected (and unexpected) implications of analytical studies under actual or simulated conditions. Researchers, designers and builders also study prototypes of new designs, research models, and structures that have deteriorated from use.
M.Eng. students have the opportunity to perform some of the tests for the Structural Behavior Laboratory class at ATLSS. In addition, many M.Eng. students work on research projects at ATLSS for their individual design project requirement.
At Lehigh, M.Eng. in structural engineering students have their own computer lab and conference room. Modeled after a workspace in the professional world, the suite is located in Fritz Lab and overlooks both testing bays. Loaded on the computers is the latest in structural engineering software, which students use for the group design project, individual design project, and homework. In addition, the computer lab offers a large-format plotter that produces full-size drawings for the design projects. Two large conference tables facilitate group meetings with the professor of practice, and allow students to sit together to solve homework assignments.
Each M.Eng. in structural engineering student gets a cubicle of their own in the student-office wing of Fritz Lab. The space provides a quiet place to study and a location in which to store books and notes. Large tables and rolling chalk boards allow students to sit in groups to work collaboratively on projects and assignments.