Mississippi State University is expanding its research in the area of Fatigue and Fracture with hardware, software, and researchers. According to Dr. Wayne Bennett, Dean of Engineering, "MSU is looking to provide our engineering students with an exposure to various mechanical testing methods to complement their academic knowledge". The Fatigue and Fracture Testing Laboratory on the first floor of Walker Hall provides instruments and test systems to measure the mechanical properties of advanced composite and metallic materials, and to evaluate the performance of components in tension, compression, and fatigue loading.
Originally established in 1986 with a gift from Honda R & D and the Dow Chemical Corporation, the laboratory has recently been updated with a new controller for one of the large capacity test machines (25,000 pounds) and with two new Instron servo-hydraulic test machines (5,600 pounds). These latter test machines were purchased by MSU as part of a Federal Aviation Administration grant and supported by a gift from Alcoa. They are capable of both tension and compression loading, and suitable for quasi-static and dynamic testing. Control by advanced software and user programmable functions provides the flexibility required to conduct state-of-the-art mechanical testing.
The laboratory is providing graduate students and faculty with the capabilities to test advanced materials and structures under various loading conditions. The laboratory has also been used to fulfill external contracts and grants for various government organizations and industries.