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CTL | Thompson Completes Full-Scale Grillage Testing



















The Accredited Testing team at the Fort Collins, Colorado location of CTL|Thompson has completed full scale testing on several models of steel pile cap products, often referred to as grillages.  CTL|Thompson conceived and designed the testing plan and unique equipment to apply the requested test loads. 

In this testing program, the piles used were 3-inch, hollow, square tube helical piles.  CTL|Thompson arranged and monitored the installation of the piles as a part of preparing for the grillage testing.  Samples of the grillage products were then mounted on the pile tops and instrumented with dial indicators and strain gauges.

Per the client’s request, target test loading included moments of up to 80,000 ft-lb with a static axial load of 4,000 lbs and keeping applied shear loads less than 2,000 lbs.  This loading specification of high moment and low shear required using load application “masts”.  These unique testing masts were fabricated with 12 inch diameter pipe, 18 feet long, and filled with concrete to provide dead weight and stiffness.  While this pipe size didn’t quite have enough weight to meet the axial load requirement, the bolt pattern on the base plates prevented the use of a larger diameter pipe and for practicality reasons taller masts were ruled out.  The solution was 100 lb concrete ballast weights added to the sides of the masts. 


Riding the Automation Wave with Construction Materials Testing

Materials Testing is still heavily reliant on humans, but cloud-based platforms 

that communicate directly with break machines are taking us into the future


For nearly 150 years, construction materials testing has been a manual effort. Whether in an engineering lab, a commercial lab, at a cement/ready-mix manufacturers' sites or in the field, specimens are labeled with marker or chalk. Load settings are controlled with a hand valve. Results are recorded and transferred manually. Details are noted, but sparsely, and put in a folder, in a cabinet - somewhere.

In short, materials testing is heavily reliant on humans. Just like it was 150 years ago. 

It won't come as a surprise to readers that the construction industry is years behind the rest of the automated world. In fact, according to McKinsey Global Institute's (MGI) Digitization Index, "Construction is among the least digitized sectors in the world. In the United States, construction comes second to last, and in Europe, it is in last position on the index."

That is all changing.


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