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National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing

Interdisciplinary Centre for infrastructure sensors and instrumentation

State-of-the-art laboratories at NRFIS bring together leading edge engineering facilities and sensor development capabilities to meet the needs across disciplines of civil engineering, infrastructure design, construction, operation and asset management.

Photo: Civil Engineering Building housing state-of-the-art research laboratories

Sensor Development

Novel Prototyping, Sensor Maintenance and Vibration Isolation Sensor Laboratories

The Novel prototyping, Sensor Maintenance and Vibration Isolation Sensor laboratories are central to supporting world-leading research in advanced sensor technologies for future infrastructure and environmental monitoring. The equipment available can support the development of sensor technologies towards deployment, integrating with complementary field-deployment capabilities available in the Smart Infrastructure and Construction Laboratory.

Smart Infrastructure and Construction Laboratory

The Smart Infrastructure and Construction Laboratory supports the development of sensor technologies, field-deployment capabilities and data analysis undertaken by the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC). CSIC is an international centre of excellence in sensors, data analysis and interpretation, and smart city systems. CSIC develops cutting-edge sensing and data analysis models to provide a powerful platform for delivering data that enables smarter and proactive asset management decision-making, both during construction of new infrastructure and for existing structures.


Advanced Structures Laboratory

The Advanced Structures Laboratory focuses on lightweight structural concepts demonstrating deployable and shape-changing applications. The facilities allow for work with metal, composite and various thermoplastic materials, and manufacturing and testing small-scale proof-of-concept structures to confirm solutions from nonlinear theoretical modelling and computational simulation. 

Structural Materials Laboratory

Minimising the embodied energy of buildings and infrastructure is key component to achieving global emissions reductions targets. The Structural Materials Laboratory aims to transform construction through new methodologies for design, manufacture, assembly, use, reuse, and deconstruction. The laboratory is used to test ideas, from the digital to the physical, which will support a change in culture in design to make minimal embodied energy structures the preferred outcome on all construction projects. We are developing robotic construction methods, digital imaging and scanning techniques and their associated control systems.

Structures Laboratory

The Structures Laboratory and support space underpins all of the experimental research conducted across the Civil Engineering Division.  Dedicated equipment aligns with the need for a well-founded central workshop with local fabrication facilities for complex experimental test rigs and components and for multi-material specimen preparation, advanced measurement and data acquisition capabilities, world-leading small and large scale experimental testing, novel measurement systems, and the movement of specimens and materials throughout the building.

Computational Structures Mechanics Laboratory 

The Computational Structures Mechanics Laboratory provides facilities to perform computational modelling and analysis of lightweight structures originating from a wide range of applications, including structural engineering, aerospace and marine engineering. Specific areas of expertise include advanced discretization methods for integrated design of solids and structural components, computational fluid-structure interaction and mechanical modelling and computational analysis of large-scale structural membranes.

Material Testing and Characterisation Laboratory

The Material Testing and Characterisation Laboratory provides facilities for testing a multitude of different building materials under static and dynamic tensile and compressive forces at room temperature as well as elevated temperatures. The range of available universal testing machines allows testing low capacity flexural materials as well as higher strength load bearing elements.

Concrete Manufacturing and Durability Laboratories

The Concrete Manufacturing and Durability Laboratories support an integrated package of leading edge research to extend the lifetime of existing structures and characterise the long-term integrity of novel structural materials and structural systems for concrete manufacture.  To fulfil these functions both conventional and state-of-the-art equipment is available. 

Concrete Innovation Laboratory

The facilities provided in the Concrete Innovation Laboratory focus around the development, testing and application of technologies and materials for intelligent, sustainable and low carbon infrastructure.  This includes remediation and intelligent biomimetic infrastructure materials, including concrete.


Geomechanics Laboratories

The geomechanic laboratories complement the existing physical modelling and geotechnical testing facilities available at the University of Cambridge - Schofield Centre. They enable fundamental research on soil response at the element level as well as provide the highest quality of complementary data to fully leverage field testing and monitoring related to infrastructure. The laboratories provide advanced facilities for static element testing, dynamic testing, and thermo-hydro-mechanical testing.

Construction Engineering

Construction IT Laboratory

This state-of-the-art laboratory supports sensing, information retrieval, and knowledge discovery from infrastructure data. The research at the laboratory focuses on the extraction and analysis of unstructured and semi-structured data, such as images, video, and the geometry of construction projects.