Facilities and Projects

The Sasol Laboratory for Structural Mechanics is well-equipped and with some of the unique facilities including:

  • An 7m x 8m isolated test floor covered with T-slot base plates and natural frequency of about 1 Hz. Test object capacity in excess of 15 tons (typically large truck).
  • A wide range of load frames, angle plates
  • A suite of servo-hydraulic actuators ranging from 40 kN to 630 kN with appropriate controllers for multi-axial fatigue and durability testing.
  • A suite of Schenck hydropuls testing machines for component testing.
  • Comprehensive data acquisition systems for laboratory use
  • Comprehensive field testing capability (accelerometers, strain gauges, etc)
  • 50 kN electrodynamic shaker
  • Polytec PSV 300 and PSV 400 scanning laser vibrometers
  • Polytec PDV100 portable laser vibrometer
  • GOM stereo videography with Pontos and Aramis
  • OROS data acquisitioning and experimental modal analysis
  • Large range of specialist rotor dynamics test setups for gear, bearing and turbomachine blade condition monitoring investigations
  • Microphones and sound intensity measurement capability

This is supported by a good finite element analysis capability, built around MSC Nastran, Marc and ANSYS, well as a range of other specialist software such as experimental modal analysis.

While our research impact as measured on scientific databases like Scopus and Science Direct is critically important to the group, industrial relevance is also a very important driver in defining our research foci.

A visual impression of typical projects conducted by the C-AIM and the facilities in our Sasol Laboratory for Structural Mechanics

Machine fault simulators for vibration monitoring algorithm development


Development of condition monitoring techniques for electrical machinery. This development included finite element model of the machine and its conductors

Laser vibrometry for development of turbomachine blade damage detection algorithms

Experimental validation of numerical models of dynamic response of electrical equipment

Development and application of response reconstruction methods for durability testing of equipment

Response reconstruction for durability testing on vehicle development project

Haul road response reconstruction. Initial work requires extensive characterization tests. These are no longer necessary in our recent work, where we apply artificial intelligence and statistical techniques with simplified measurements

Digital image correlation for structural damage and dynamic studies

Scanning laser vibrometry for damage detection studies on composite structures


Durability investigations on composite panels

Vibration studies on rapid rail project

Structural dynamic model updating on large mills

Modal tests on large structure for model verification



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