Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory
The 60,000-square-foot Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory features continuing education classrooms, office space, a technical library and a computer facility. ATREL is a unique and comprehensive transportation research, educational and testing laboratory within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
ATREL provides high-quality transportation education and research and advances the state of knowledge by developing innovative, economical and reliable technologies for airport, highway and rail systems.
Accelerated Testing Facility
In 2000, ATREL acquired the Accelerated Transportation Loading System through state funding. The $2 million investment evaluates full-scale transportation systems by subjecting them to real-life traffic and environmental conditions.
The system is capable of simulating aircraft, truck or rail traffic distributions, testing all types of pavement systems and applying load levels exceeding highway and airfield limits.
ATLAS weighs 156 kips and is 124 feet long, 12 feet high and 12 feet wide. Mounted on four crawler tracks, the test unit can be easily positioned on the pavement test section.
The system transmits loads to the pavement structure through a hydraulic ram attached to a wheel carriage. This can accommodate single, dual or aircraft tires or even a single-axle rail bogey. The load level varies between 0 and 80 kips.
Its adaptions include a portable structure that allows control of daily temperature changes on the pavement section. The facility also has readily available data acquisition systems for collecting both static and dynamic data from instrumented pavement sections.
ATLAS’ total testing length is 85 feet, with 65 feet of constant velocity testing. At a maximum speed of 10 mph, loading is either uni- or bi-directional. It can also wander up to 3 feet in a lateral direction to simulate real-world traffic distributions.
Materials Processing Facility
The Materials Paving Facility stores and processes materials used in highway research. This facility houses the equipment necessary for sieving aggregates as well as sawing and coring asphalt and concrete to test specific geometries. In addition to the sample-preparation equipment, MPF also contains several servo-hydraulic load frames and large-scale triaxial testing machines.