GeoEngineering Laboratory

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
What the facility does

Buried infrastructure testing, buried pipe and leakage testing, buried pipe loading, trenchless technology testing

Areas of expertise

Queen’s GeoEngineering Laboratory is the pre-eminent international facility for buried pipe, culvert and storm-water detention system testing. Capabilities include experiments on new, deteriorated and repaired culverts with a span of up to 10 metres and a unique ability to determine strength under simulated truckloads from 8 to 10 times larger than typical service loads using the lab’s 200-tonne loading system. Facilities include a permanent reaction pit with pulling or pushing capacity of 200 tonnes for undertaking trenchless pipe installation, repair or replacement. The laboratory includes an atmospheric control system for managing silica dust, carbon monoxide and other emissions from the lab’s construction equipment (a skid-steer loader, an excavator, compactors, a boom forklift and a man lift). Other facilities include a 2-by-2-metre, 1.6-metre-deep test box for simulating burial of pipes up to 0.6 metres in diameter under very deep burial and a 5-by-3-metre, 4.5-metre-deep test cell being constructed for deep burial testing on pipes up to 2.5 metres in diameter.

Research services

Pipe testing, burial, soil-structure interaction, surface loading, strength testing, pipe repair, pipe deterioration

Sectors of application
  • Construction (including building, civil engineering, specialty trades)



Large test pit

Used to test near-surface (up to 2.5 metres of burial) pipelines, culverts and storm-water detention systems

Reaction pit

For use in trenchless construction, either for pulling or for pushing equipment, or in the lab’s 200t actuator

200-tonne reaction frame, actuators, loading pads and beams

To simulate wheel pairs, single axles and tandem axles according to the Canadian (CHBDC) and U.S. (AASHTO) bridge-design standards

Biaxial cell

Simulating deep burial on small-diameter buried pipes, elements of storm-water detention chambers and landfill barrier components at up to 1000 kPa overburden pressure

Mechanical and leakage testing frame for pipe joints

For testing under shear and rotation or moment for pipes up to 1.5 metres in diameter

Stepped isothermal method testing

To determine long-term performance of polymer buried pipes and storm-water detention systems

  • 407 Express Toll Route
  • Advanced Drainage Systems
  • American Concrete Pipe Association
  • Armtech Ltd.
  • Big ‘O’ Pipe
  • Brentwood Industries
  • Contech Construction Products
  • Geotree Technologies Inc.
  • Hanson Pipe and Precast
  • Ipex Inc.
  • James Hardie Research and Development
  • M-Con Products Inc.
  • Ontario Concrete Pipe Association