Nicholas Brake, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Nicholas Brake, Ph.D.

The Lamar University lab is a dedicated facility for materials and structural engineering research provided with diverse space and equipment for micro-, meso-, and macro-scale testing. The laboratory features a high bay area and is serviced by an overhead crane. The laboratory is outfitted with materials and structural testing equipment for simulated mechanical and environmental loading capabilities and is supported by affiliated machine and wood shops.



The Instron 5965 dual-column tabletop testing system is a universal static testing system that performs tensile and compression testing.



The Instron 8803 is a high load capacity servo-hydraulic actuator with a precision-aligned, high-stiffness load frame. It has static and dynamic test applications which include fracture mechanics of cementitious media, reinforcing bars, fiber-reinforced polymers and other civil engineering components or structures. (b) The Master Electric type PD is designed to measure the compression, tensile and flexural strength and deflection of concrete, mortar and cement paste specimens with a capacity of 60 kips. The Gilson MC-300CL is used for compression strength tests up to 300 kips.



A drop impact testing apparatus (INSTRON CEAST 9350) can be used to characterize material energy absorption and impact resistance under high or low-velocity impacts. The testing apparatus comes equipped with an environmental chamber and a high-speed data acquisition board. The MTS Insight 100SL electromechanical testing device can be used to test structural materials in direct tension, flexure, or compression at accurately controlled loading rates. The testing apparatus comes equipped a data acquisition board and several displacement transducers and extensometers.



The LUMS lab has an environmental chamber for tests requiring precise control of temperature and moisture and a Freeze/Thaw chamber that is primarily used for ASTM C666 to assess concrete freeze/thaw durability.



The TA-Q500 analyzer offers a high-temperature limit for thermal analysis. The instrument measures the mass loss of a sample very accurately versus temperature. The temperature can go from room temperature up to 1000ºC and the balance can handle samples up to 1g in mass. The Keyence VH-Z500R optical microscope is utilized to reveal small particles of fine or ultra-fine materials to determine the particle size distribution or can be used to ascertain the geometry of small tortuous cracks and other complex failure mechanisms.


MSK-USP-3N is a benchtop 300W sonicator with a quality sound-proof chamber and stainless steel elevating platform. Cole-Parmer sonicator is an ultrasonic cleaner which provides aggressive cleaning power with heat. Both two sonicators can be used to disperse nano-powder in a liquid medium. The Cole-Parmer PA-120 has 0.1 mg accuracy and 120 g capacity.