Major facilities and trial sites

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  • 3D X-ray microtomographic imagery platform for investigating the behaviour of materials and structures subjected to thermo-hydro-mechanical stresses - Navier MAST/GERS

    The 3D X-ray microtomographic imagery platform is used to investigate the behaviour of materials and structures. It is able to investigate scales ranging from micrometres to about ten centimetres and can be used on a very wide variety of materials with possible civil engineering, energy and transport applications. The specimens are subjected to mechanical, thermal and hydric stresses that are representative of the real in-service conditions of the studied materials.


    This facility is managed by the Navier laboratory, a research unit that is jointly managed by the École des Ponts ParisTech, the CNRS, Ifsttar MAST and Ifsttar GERS.

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging Spectrometer - Navier MAST/GERS

    Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging Spectrometer is used exclusively for the materials and environmental sciences. Using a prototypical vertical low-field magnet with an internal diameter of 40 cm, it is equipped with a number of devices that enable it to be used to study the flow properties of “complex” fluids and granular materials, the behaviour of the liquids and compounds in suspension that are present in porous media (concrete, rock, soil, etc.) and to characterise the microstructure of the latter. The world has very few devices of this type that are backed up by a mechanics and physics laboratory and used exclusively for civil engineering research.


    Find out more on the website of the NAVIER laboratory, which is a research unit managed jointly by the École des Ponts ParisTech, the CNRS, Ifsttar MAST and Ifsttar GERS.

  • Civil engingineering structures laboratory - IFSTTAR MAST

    The civil engineering structures laboratory provides a set of outstanding research facilities that sets out to check the security and serviceability of bridges and civil engineering structures. This facility means IFSTTAR can conduct vital experiments that provide the basis for and validate models and design methods that take account of the nonlinear behaviour of materials and structures, analyse the diseases and mechanical malfunctions that affect some structures, or validate repair techniques, innovations and the use of new materials in civil engineering structures. In particular, the laboratory has one facility which is rare in Europe - a strong floor measuring 60 by 10 metres and two reaction walls that are 5 metres high and 4 metres wide for multiaxial loading or earthquake studies.


    More information is available at the website of the EMGCU laboratory (Urban and Civil Engineering Testing and Modeling Laboratory) which belongs to MAST (Materials and Structures Department)

  • Circular fatigue test track and test benches for pavement structures - IFSTTAR MAST

    The pavement fatigue test track allows IFSTTAR to carry out accelerated tests on real pavement structures under heavy loads up to a severe level of damage. The performance of this carousel (four 20 metre arms each bearing loads of between 45 to 130 kN at a maximum speed of 100 km/h), makes it one of the largest facilities of this type in the world. In addition to the circular test track, the laboratory has two linear traffic simulators for smaller scale tests to measure the ability or road structures, surfacings or road elements to withstand traffic loads.


    Download the carousel information flyer of find more information on the website of Lames (Laboratory for Modelling Experimentation and Survey of Transport Infrastructures) which is part of MAST (Materials and Structures Department)

  • Cable fatigue test bench - IFSTTAR MAST

    The cable fatigue test bench enables IFSTTAR to conduct full-scale tests on the cables used in civil engineering or other applications of cylindrical systems (bridge cables and anchorages, offshore installations). Such tests are necessary to validate innovative engineering solutions and ensure the product in question is durable and maintains its integrity under real operating loads (static tensile stress and cyclic variations in forces and tensile and flexural stresses). Acoustic sensors are used to detect and localise any failures that occur during testing. This is the only facility of its type in France, and one of only three in the whole world.


    More details are available on the website of SMC (Metallic Structures and Cables), which is a laboratory belonging to MAST (Materials and Structures Department)

  • Geotechnical centrifuge equipped with earthquake simulator and robotic manipulator - IFSTTAR GERS

    The geotechnical centrifuge equipped with an earthquake simulator and robotic manipulator uses small-scale models to study the behaviour of geotechnical structures such as foundations, offshore anchorages, fill or retaining walls. The results can be directly transposed to full-scale structures and provide a means of validating numerical simulations. Tests under controlled macrogravity conditions are also performed for the approval testing of aeronautical and medical equipment. With the CEA-Cesta centrifuge, which is used for non-geotechnical applications it is the only one of its kind in France and one of the largest centrifuges in the world (a radius of 5.5 metres, loads of up to 2 tonnes with a maximum acceleration of 100g).


    Find out more on the site website of the GMG (Geomaterials and Geotechnical Modeling), which belongs to GERS (Geotechnical engineering, Environment, Natural hazards and Earth Sciences Department).

  • Contact-free ultrasound measurement bench for analysing mechanical wave propagation in the framework of nondestructive testing - IFSTTAR GERS

    The contact-free ultrasound measurement bench is a small- or full-scale testing device for analysing the propagation of mechanical waves (ultrasonic wavelength seismic waves) that applies small- or full-scale modelling in order to develop new nondestructive testing techniques for the subsoil, engineering structures and pavements. The device has at least two unique features. First, it is able to test models that are both large (1x1x0.5 m) and heavy (250 kg), with a high degree of spatial accuracy (1μm). Second, it measures strain with an interferometric laser and can measure both the vertical and horizontal components.


    This facility is managed by GERS (Geotechnical Engineering, Environment, Natural hazards and Earth Sciences Department)

  • Rockfall test facility - IFSTTAR GERS

    The rockfall test facility, which is situated in Montagnole, in Savoie, is used to study the dissipation of energy in granular media, new dissipative structures, the resilience of engineering structures and reinforced soil embankments. It allows IFSTTAR to conduct tests that follow the European Technical Requirements for the CE marking for dynamic rockfall protection screens. This is one of the most advanced facilities of its type in Europe, with the capability of dropping loads with a maximum weight of 20 tonnes from a height of 70 metres resulting in a maximum impact speed of 133 km/h and an impact energy of 13,500 kJ. The facility is fully equipped with measurement devices (high-speed videocameras, sensors, high-speed measurement data acquisition systems).


    More information is available on the website of the RRO laboratory (Rockfall Hazards and Design of Geotechnical Structures), which belongs to GERS (Geotechnical Engineering, Natural Hazards and Earth Sciences Department).

  • Climate-controlled vibration test benches – IFSTTAR COSYS

    The vibration test bench allows IFSTTAR to investigate the dynamic behaviour of structures. It consists of a platform measuring 9m x 4m which is decoupled from the building and on which jacks, test assemblies and a horizontal table can be mounted. It is equipped with four electro-hydraulic servo actuators, controlled from a digital console, that are able to carry out a very wide range of dynamic tests for research and industry. A 72 m3 climate-controlled enclosure is located near the test bench. It is used both to test the environmental resilience of equipment and for the purposes of IFSTTAR’s research. The temperature can be controlled (between -30°C et 80°C) as can the humidity, artificial rain and solar lamps. It is also possible to conduct vibration tests at controlled temperatures.


    These outstanding facilities are managed by COSYS (Components and Systems Department)

  • Crash test catapults and impact simulation testing facility with instrumented dummies – IFSTTAR TS2

    The crash test catapult and impact simulators, combined with the use of instrumented dummies, aim to advance research in the area of secondary car safety, the evaluation of injury criteria, the characterization of materials and the rapid dynamics of mechanical systems. The catapult propels a vehicle or another mobile entity against a rigid obstacle or another vehicle. The benches simulate the impacts that result from the deceleration of the moving system or are used to conduct dynamic tests (horizontal impactor, vertical drop test facility). The instrumented dummies simulate the behaviour of a human body subjected to deceleration and are used to measure the resulting stresses. The tests are monitored with metrological devices such as dynamic measurement systems and high speed videocameras.


    This facility is managed by TS2 (Transport Health Safety Department)

  • Semi-anechoic chamber for acoustic analysis - IFSTTAR AME

    The semi-anechoic chamber is used to conduct acoustic tests, in particular in scale models of urban areas, develop acoustic measurement devices and characterise the acoustic emissions of noise sources. This chamber is distinguished by its very high level of insulation (very low background noise) and by a specific type of internal acoustic treatment that makes it possible to simulate a free-field environment.


    Find out more on the website of the UMRAE (Joint Research Unit in Environmental Acoustics), which belongs to AME (Planning, Mobilities and Environment Department).

  • Reference track for characterising pavement surfaces and dedicated instrumented vehicles - IFSTTAR AME

    The reference track for characterizing road surfacings and the instrumented vehicles that run on it are used in research projects (braking tests, experiments on noise, skidding resistance and rolling resistance, etc.) for the type approval of measurement systems and pavement testing equipment. The track comprises a rising bend 1,300 metres long and a 1,000 metre straight section with more than 15 different surfacings and a bend with a radius of 250m. Environmental conditions and, in particular, meteorological conditions are measured with sensors. Two instrumented vehicles that are capable of speeds of over 130 km/h conduct detailed investigation of the vehicle/infrastructure interaction with a view to improving user safety.


    More information is available on the EASE website (Environment, Planning, Safety and Eco-design Laboratory), which is part of AME (Planning, Mobilities and Environment Department)

If you are interested in these facilities, please fill in the special contact form.