Major Research Infrastructure

SEIT has numerous laboratories and major experimental and testing facilities for research projects, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. The facilities include:

Acoustics Laboratory and Anechoic Chamber

A major item of infrastructure for the acoustics laboratory is the anechoic room. This is a purpose built, sound and vibration isolated room with dimensions 3.5m x 3.5m x 3.5m and a lower free-field cut-off frequency of 150 Hz. The acoustics laboratory also contains an extensive range of transducers, meters and analysis systems for measuring sound. The acoustic facilities are used for undergraduate teaching and thesis work and postgraduate and academic research in acoustics.

Advanced Composites Laboratory

The School has a capability to manufacture specimens and complex structural components made of advanced composite materials (glass/carbon/aramid fibre and fabric reinforced composites).  The laboratory equipment includes: heat and vacuum application and control units (the ATACS Model 8010, the Heatcon Model HCS9000, and the Heatcon Model HCS9200 Hot Bonders); Hot press incorporating the Enerpac PES3202 F 30,000 Series electric pump and hydraulic ram and the PCD-33A program controller; composite curing autoclave model MB-2036-415-800 (American Autoclave Co); silicone rubber envelope bags with twist-Lock 15A/250V power pass-throughs for hot bonder heat blankets (Torr Technologies, Inc.). These facilities provide experimental training and research infrastructure for undergraduate (final year projects) and postgraduate studies involving design and manufacture of composite components, experimental model validation and verification, material characterisation etc.

Advanced Sensing Laboratory

The Advanced Sensing Laboratory hosts a range of optical and electromagnetic imaging and sensing experiments designed to find new and novel ways to exploit information in the electromagnetic field. Areas of specific interest include imaging and non-imaging polarimeters, hyperspectral imagers, coherence sensors, and Terahertz technologies. Key instruments include a unique laboratory polarimeter testbed designed to implement new modulation strategies for polarimeters and a portable, active, Mueller matrix imaging polarimeter for target detection.

Australian Cyber Security Centre Laboratories

These include

  • Australian Cyber Security Centre Laboratory – Red Room

This lab has a capacity of 8 students and doubles as the Red Room in teaming exercises. Also has 3 large screen displays.

  • Australian Cyber Security Centre Laboratory – Blue Room

The main cyber training lab with 24 PCs plus a lecturer PC connected to 3 large displays. This room also doubles as the Blue Room in teaming exercises. This lab connects to the Cyber Range and is generally isolated from the Internet.

  • Cyber Security Centre Laboratory – Cyber Range Server Room

The server room holds the Cyber Range. The Cyber Range is a C7000 blade enclosure connecting SAN storage over fibre channel plus other supporting infrastructure including networking devices.

  • Cyber Security Centre Laboratory – White Room

This lab has a capacity of 20 students and doubles as the White Room in teaming exercises. Also has 3 large screen displays.

Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory

This laboratory contains a range of unmanned aerial vehicles and wheeled platforms for the development and testing of autonomous robotic systems. Used for research including undergraduate thesis projects.

Aviation Safety Studio

The studio is equipped with two aircraft flight simulators and a large projection screen with 3 projectors which can be used to show a panoramic view from the cockpit of either flight simulator. Software that is run on the simulator includes the X-plane flight simulator which is interfaced with MATLAB/Simulink to allow the study of aircraft in Flight Dynamics and Aircraft Control (ZEIT3505). The facility can be used for recreating aircraft accidents in case studies, hence the name aviation safety. Most airports/regions, aircraft types, seasons, times of day and weather patterns are simulated. This facility is used for undergraduate classes including virtual flight laboratories in ZEIT2502 Fundamentals of Flight and ZEIT3505 Flight Dynamics and Control.

Cognitive and Developmental Systems Lab

Undergraduate and postgraduate project students use the School’s developmental robotics lab. The lab has four Lego Mindstorms NXT robots and three Lego Mindstorms RCX robots. A set of additional HiTechnic sensors have been purchased, including gyroscopic sensors, accelerometers and compass sensors. Tools are available in the lab for controlling the robot in three ways: intelligent bricks can be programmed and connected directly to robot sensors and actuators for autonomous control; a programmable Lego remote control can be used to achieve human-in-the-loop control; and a PC with Bluetooth connectivity is available for running complex control algorithms to manipulate the robots remotely. The lab space itself is equipped with high powered overhead lighting and a custom built raised table with a whiteboard surface for supporting projects in creative robotics. Software packages installed on the PC for programming the robots include the NXT environment, MATLAB and Java.

Concrete, Soils and Bitumen Laboratory

Used for soils and concrete preparation and heat treatment of specimens using furnaces for undergraduate classes and thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research.  Facilities include:

  • Equipment for making concrete
  • Equipment for testing fresh concrete workability and air content
  • Thermocouples and data takers for monitoring concrete hydration
  • Equipment for simulating carbonation of concrete
  • Equipment for measuring shrinkage of concrete at all ages
  • Two special environmental rooms that can be automatically controlled to provide various ranges of temperature and humidity
  • A vast range of moulds, sieves and ovens for everyday use in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching
  • Equipment for California Bearing Ratio (CBR) testing of pavement materials
  • Equipment for geotechnical and pavement site investigation (e.g. Benkelman Beam deflection testing equipment, Clegg Hammer (4.5kg and 20kg) Soil impact testing equipment, Dynamic Cone Penetration (DCP) testing equipment, field CBR testing equipment, nuclear density gauge, etc.)
  • Fog room for concrete setting time acceleration
  • Temperature and Humidity Controlled Environmental Rooms, for research and teaching projects.

Fluids Laboratory

Incorporating both sides of the mezzanine floor, this lab includes a low-turbulence open-circuit wind tunnel (speeds ranging to 40 m/s), with three-axis force balance and associated data-logging equipment, used for staff research activities, undergraduate thesis aerodynamics experiments, and demonstrations for STEM outreach activities. Other facilities include rigs used in undergraduate teaching for exploring fundamental aspects of fluids behaviour such as Bernoulli’s equation and variation of drag with Reynolds number.

Fluidic Thrust Control Laboratory

A small two-dimensional converging-diverging supersonic nozzle, instrumented for multi-axis thrust measurements and incorporating schlieren flow visualisation. Used for research including undergraduate thesis projects.

Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

Geotechnical laboratory includes multiple sets of triaxial, shear box, consolidation and permeability testing equipment for undergraduate classes and thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research. The triaxial stations are capable of carrying out stress path controlled and cyclic loading tests and the consolidation testing equipment include a Rowe cell. The shear box is capable for determining geosynthetic-fill interface shear properties.  The laboratory also includes soil tri-axial, shear box, consolidation and permeability testing equipment for undergraduate classes and thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research.

Hydraulics and Environmental Engineering Laboratory

Mainly used for undergraduate hydraulics engineering classes, and postgraduate and academic research facilities include:

  • Hydraulic test benches
  • Water flume with recirculation, tilting and wavemaking capacity
  • Tilting recirculating flume.
  • Balance room containing microscopes, balances and optical equipment

Hypersonics Laboratory

This laboratory contains the T-ADFA high-enthalpy free piston shock tunnel, capable of simulating flight at up to Mach 10 at 13 MJ/kg total enthalpy for external aero-thermodynamics, shock wave/boundary layer interaction and supersonic combustion (scramjet) research. The shock tunnel is combined with advanced laser-based diagnostic techniques for flow characterisation. Used for undergraduate labs, final-year thesis projects and postgraduate and academic research.

Impact Dynamics Laboratory

The Impact Dynamics Research Laboratory (IDRL) at UNSW Canberra was established with the vision of being able to take any material or structure and fully characterising its mechanical response through a comprehensive suite of dynamic experiments.

Indoor Robotics Test Facility

A large netted area fitted with a VICON motion capture system (MCS) allows indoor testing of drones and other robots, as well as human motion studies, sensor calibrations etc. The facility is mainly used for closed loop testing of guidance algorithms for small unmanned aerial vehicles. The MCS provides full 6DOF motion monitoring with sub-millimetre accuracy at up to 200Hz update rates.

Laser Laboratories

The School has five Laser laboratories. In addition to use for undergraduate teaching, these laboratories support the School's research effort. Facilities include: dedicated laser laboratories sharing an acoustically isolated foundation; pneumatically isolated optical tables; two Argon-Ion lasers; one frequency-doubled Nd:YAG laser (1W CW@532nm); an infra-red Nd:YAG laser with feedback control of intensity noise (500mW CW@1064nm); an infra-red fibre laser with feedback control of intensity noise (1W CW@1550nm); several infra-red semiconductor lasers (10mW CW@1550nm); free-space and telecommunications optoelectronics; fast, quantum noise limited, linear photodetectors with associated electronics; an infra-red single-photon detector and radio-frequency and microwave test and measurement equipment.

Work in adaptive optics and display surrounds two OKO deformable mirrors and various custom built Spatial Light Modulators. Materials work is conducted in a Class 100 clean room with sputtering facilities.

Materials and Mechanical Testing Facility

20 kN JJ Lyod and 5 kN MTS mechanical test machines for static testing, 100 kN and 250 kN dynamic test machines for fatigue testing, vertical low velocity gas gun and horizontal medium velocity gas gun, instrumented impact test machines, strain gauges, extensometers, etc for undergraduate classes and honours research work.

Mechanics of Solids and Material Testing Laboratory

Material test facilities for undergraduate classes and thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research. Facilities include:

  • Cantilever beam test
  • Strain gauges
  • Data takers
  • Torsion testing apparatus
  • Hardness testing apparatus
  • Thin cylinder testing
  • Corrosion testing
  • Non-destructive instruments
  • Chloride permeability testing equipment
  • High temperature kilns

Micro and Nano Photonics Laboratory

Rare-earth doped fibers (ytterbium, erbium and thulium), commercial Q-switched laser, commercial cw laser, constructed ytterbium doped Q-switched laser based on acousto-optic modulator or a wide range of saturable absorbers (e.g. graphene, carbon nanotubes, sulphides and special materials), x-y-z stages, posts, lenses and a wide variety of optical equipment. Erbium doped fiber student trainer. General measurement equipment such as power meters, oscilloscopes, optical spectrum analyser and optical time domain reflectometer. Low power lasers (class 1) for general alignment.

Microfluidics Laboratory

The microfluidics laboratory in building 21 houses a range of equipment for the manufacture and study of flows in micro-fluidic devices and analytical instruments for measurement of physical properties of fluids. Micro-end milling is the main manufacturing method used for the manufacture of the micro-fluidic devices and provides a new, albeit micro, extension to the conventional CNC manufacturing methods in the undergraduate student workshop enabling undergraduate students to gain an insight into the micro/nano technology area. Two fume cupboards are available for chemistry based experiments with facilities for the storage of flammable and corrosive chemicals. The facilities in the laboratory include:

  • Brookfields LVDV-II+ spindle and cup viscometer
  • KSV Sigma 701 tensiometer
  • KSV Model 773 surface tension/contact angle apparatus
  • Kinexus Pro rheometer with parallel plate, cone and plate, and cup and bob spindles available
  • Sartorius BP201D 0-210 g balance
  • TPS WP-90 pH, ion meter and electrodes
  • Toshiba TM 3000 tabletop scanning electron microscope
  • Brucker AXS 430-H microanalysis element detector
  • Micro-end milling facility
  • Laurell WS-400B7 spin coater
  • Syringe pumps
  • 0-200°C labec oven
  • Schott digital heater plate
  • Thermolyne Cimarec 3 magnetic heater/stirrer
  • Nikon SMZ1000 stereomicroscope with epi-fluorescent unit
  • Olympus BH biological microscope
  • Eppendorf 5702 centrifuge
  • Vacuum pump and drying cabinet
  • Bransonic 12 ultrasonic bath

Microwave Laboratory

The School’s Microwave Laboratory incorporates a general purpose laboratory area, electromagnetic anechoic chamber and outdoor antenna range. These facilities are used for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, as well as support of research activities. The rectangular shaped 5m long anechoic chamber is lined with 12 inch pyramidal absorber, has two access doors and operates with a fully computer controlled azimuth-over-elevation positioner system. The outdoor antenna range, situated on the roof of Building 16, is a 10m long ground reflection design equipped with a telescopic transmitter mast and an azimuth-over-elevation positioner (work is planned to fully automate the positioner control and RF instrumentation). The Microwave Laboratory is equipped with vector network analysers (HP8719A, E5071C), spectrum analysers (HP8793A, FSV40), power meters, noise source, signal generators, CAD tools (ADS, CST, ESP, EZNEC), and various waveguide and coaxial microwave components.

Model Aviation Laboratory

This facility comprises a workshop, office and storage space for the design and construction of fixed and rotary wing UAV platforms. The laboratory includes hand tools and a 3D printing facility for production of parts and assembly. The laboratory is predominantly used by undergraduate students participating in the UNSW Canberra UAV team who are competing in the 2016 UAV Outback challenge competition, but also involves some undergraduate thesis projects.

Model Aircraft Laboratory

These consist of radio controlled aircraft manufacture and maintenance facilities for the study of aircraft guidance, stability and control, particularly in relation to uninhabited aerial vehicle research. Radio controlled RMax helicopter platform and support equipment for field trials of autonomous UAV experiments. Undergraduate classes and thesis work, postgraduate and academic research.

Non-destructive Inspection (NDI) Laboratory

Ultrasonic, eddy current, magnetic particle testing, radiographic viewing, dye penetrant, thermography and holographic interferometry equipment, for undergraduate laboratory classes, honours thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research. Parts of this capability are in a central lab in building 17 while other parts are contained in other labs.

Power and Control Laboratories

The School has an experimental power system which can serve as a benchmark testbed to simulate some of the processes occurring in a practical interconnected large-scale system. The interconnected system consists of five synchronous generators (driven by armature and field controlled DC motors), three computer-controlled onload-tap-changing transformers, a variety of resistive, inductive, and capacitive loads (with computer-controlled switching), basic long transmission line equivalent hardware, and fault generators. This hardware is metered and controlled using a sophisticated dSpace system.

The Control Systems Laboratory contains a number of facilities for advanced control of vibrations, noise and control at a nano scale. The laboratory has B&K and Hewlett-Packard, state-of-the-art dynamic signal analysers, high quality microphones, accelerometers, an experimental atomic force microscope (AFM); a pneumatically isolated optical table; doppler laser vibrometer; high voltage amplifiers for piezo actuators; signal amplifiers for piezo sensors and accelerometers; dSPACE DS1102, DS1103, DS1003 real time computer control systems.

Rotary Wing Simulator Laboratory

This newly acquired laboratory consists of a dual and a single control cockpit. Each can be configured to replicate either rotary or fixed-wing aircraft and feature a 120° dome visual system. The new simulators provide a teaching medium for both rotorcraft and fixed-wing aviation classes as well as providing a testbed for research activities at postgraduate and undergraduate levels.

Supersonic wind tunnel and shock tube laboratory

Mach 2 to 3 blowdown supersonic tunnel and two shock tube facilities for steady and non-steady high-speed flow experiments. Equipment for various schlieren and interferometric flow visualisation methods. High-speed video cameras with recording speed ranges from several thousand to ten million frames per second plus a SLR camera for single images. Surface pressure measurements – point and pressure sensitive paint surface-wide techniques. Used for undergraduate thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research.

Structural Testing Laboratory (Soils, Concrete and Steel)

Various facilities for undergraduate classes and thesis work, and postgraduate and academic research including:

  • Structures strong floor
  • 100T Load frame
  • 500N Instron model 5942 MicroTester Precision universal testing machine
  • Instron 10T, 25T, 50T actuators
  • 10T, 30T and 100T dynamic test machines
  • Avery 300T concrete compression and beam flexural test rig
  • 20kN dynamic test machine (for resilient modulus testing, cyclic load IDT testing, etc.)
  • Large scale geosynthetic pullout testing facility (2m x 1m)
  • Geotechnical test tank (1.1m x 1m x 0.6m) for cyclic loading tests.
  • Circular test tank (1.1m Dia.x 1m high) for accelerated pavement model testing
  • 2 Nos. pressure plate equipment for unsaturated soil testing (e.g. soil-water characteristic curve determination).
  • Temperature and Humidity Controlled Environmental Rooms, for research and teaching projects.

Thermodynamics and Vehicles Laboratory

Engine dynamometer and various small internal combustion engine experiments including a combustion extraction rig primarily for undergraduate classes and thesis work. There is also a dedicated student vehicle development laboratory used to build, test and race a Formula race car.

Trusted Autonomy Laboratory (TAL)

TAL is a facility to enable R&D in Trusted Autonomous Systems. The facility contains a number of robots and allows the conduct of human-machine teaming research and experiments. It is equipped with a continuous audio-video capture system through four cameras and four microphones, two fixed eye trackers, one head-mounted eye tracker, two ECG, three EEG, two 2kx2k displays, two smart boards, and different type of sensors and human-machine interaction devices. The facility is surrounded by touch screens including two large plasma touch screens and a number of computer workstations with different network configurations. The laboratory has licenses for a range of cognitive and data analysis software.

Vibration Laboratory

The vibration laboratory contains an extensive range of transducers, meters and analysis systems for measuring vibration. Major items include a Polytech single point and a 2D scanning laser vibrometer as well as a differential scanning vibrometer and modal testing systems. The vibration facilities are used for undergraduate thesis work and postgraduate and academic research in vibration and materials.

Virtual Environment Simulations Laboratories (VESL)

The Virtual Environment and Simulations Labs (VESL) within the School comprise two distinct physical spaces and a diverse collection of IT resources. (**purpose?)  All are used for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, as well as fundamental and applied research.  The VESL development labs consist of a number of high-end workstations, development tools, servers, projection facilities, and associated software. A number of teaching laboratories are equipped for multi-participant VE research including powerful PCs, audio data capture and dedicated software. 

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