Laboratories at School of Civil Engineering (National Sustainable Construction Laboratory & LTH Fire Laboratory)


    Infrastructure Details

    Name of national/international infrastructure this infrastructure belongs to

    LTH is part of the Swedish Universities of the Built Environment where Chalmers, KTH and Luleå TU are members. Lab facilities, such as HSB Living Lab (Chalmers, Angela Sasic Kalagasidis) and Complab (LTU) are used in joint research projects. Riksriggen, a Swedish national research infrastructure (see

    The UK centre for moisture in buildings, is a centre of competence with close collaboration with the researchers at “FuktCentrum”, a part of NASCOL. Fuktcentrum has members from both LTH, CTH, KTH and RISE.


    Today, the facilities are organized in two laboratories: The National Sustainable Construction Laboratory (NASCOL) and the LTH Fire Laboratory.

    The laboratory infrastructure at the School of Civil Engineering, Lund University, represents a substantial and unique facility among the universities in Sweden in terms of its wide scope (acoustics, building materials, building physics, building services, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural mechanics, fire safety engineering, highway engineering, water resources engineering and engineering geology).
    The research today is diversified and ranges from basic research to applied research in close collaboration with industry.

    Examples of research include e.g. the mechanical and acoustic behavior of structures built with new superlight composite materials, fixation and transport of moisture on micro level in building materials, development of measuring techniques for moisture content measurements in porous materials, new insulation materials and their integration into building components, new bio-based materials for the construction sector, advanced characterization of geomaterials.

    Other areas of interest are related to large scale experiments, e.g. measurement of heat flow and temperature distribution in complete building parts, large scale equipment to measure heat flow and moisture transport simultaneously, measurement of air tightness (building materials and building components) in a controlled environment, accelerated testing of durability and long-term behavior of materials and structures under climate action.

    Characterization and/or validation of mechanical and vibro-acoustic behavior of materials, including geomaterials, structural components and joints is of interest and essential for micro-to-macro modeling/understanding of materials and components. Also, continuous monitoring in the field of for example long-term structural health of large infrastructures, contaminants in the ground at new housing areas and groundwater and foundation properties, is of interest.

    The LTH Fire Laboratory is part of the division of fire safety engineering and is used for training and educating future fire safety engineers. However, the laboratory has also experimental facilities to perform research for sustainable constructions as evaluation and product development can be done for building systems, products and materials. As such the fire laboratory is well fitted to be part of as well as complementary to the NASCOL facility. It is also housed in the same building allowing easy cooperation possibilities.

    Equipment and resources

    - Mechanical testing equipment: servo-hydraulic machinery, load and displacement measurements
    - Soil parameters characterization equipment: plastic and liquid limit, water content, granulometry etc.
    - Soil samples preparation tools, compactor, and extractor
    - Triaxial test apparatus
    - Isothermal calorimetry lab
    - Dynamic Vapor Sorption technique (DVS) – hygroscopic sorption 0-95% RHPressure Plate/Pressure Membrane – overhygroscopic sorption 93-100% RH
    - Freezing cabinets
    - Building biology lab – Sterile Chamber and Stereo Microscope for characterization of mold growth
    - Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) for material characterization
    - Concrete laboratory
    - Guarded HotBox
    - Acoustic measurement devices, step sound generator, shakers, microphones
    - Dynamic Shear Rheometer

    All divisions associated with the above equipment also have equipment suitable for different kind of field measurements. Of special interest here, is the field laboratory capabilities in engineering geology, relating to non-destructive testing and monitoring, applied geophysics for near-surface applications (DC resistivity and IP, refraction and reflection seismics, ground penetrating radar, magnetometry, frequency domain EM, VLF, TEM, sonar) drilling technology, well characterization and design, aquifer engineering.

    LTH Fire Laboratory
    - a one third room test for reduced scale room fire tests (1/3 of ISO 9705),
    - a flame spread apparatus (ISO5658),
    - a cone calorimeter (ISO5660) to test heat release of material and product for building and transport applications,
    - an FAA micro calorimeter to test small samples of materials,
    - an oxygen index apparatus (ISO 4589-3)
    - a small wind tunnel for testing of sprinkler bulbs,
    - small scale test set-ups for active systems, and,
    - flammability boxes to test explosion limits of gases e.g. new biogases.

    The fire laboratory has also cooperation with the combustion physics laboratory (advanced laser diagnostics).

    Through cooperation with the fire training facilities of Revinge (MSB), the laboratory has also access to a full-scale container set-up to test small real scale construction elements or items of building content. Thanks to recently granted funding from the faculty, the facilities will be extended also with a medium scale tunnel test set-up where real scale test can be conducted in a tunnel facility allowing measuring of smoke transport, gas content and heat release rate.

    Services provided

    The services include testing aiming at verification and characterization of:
    - mechanical performance of building materials including geomaterials,
    - energy performance,
    - moisture properties of both building materials and components,
    - acoustic performance of building materials, components and structures.

    Management of the infrastructure

    The official management is by departments.

    As regards NASCOL, a group with representatives from the research groups form an informal steering group, taking joint decisions regarding e.g. common rules, availability, applications for funding and joint staff.

    UKÄ subject classification

    • Engineering and Technology

    Type of infrastructure

    • Equipment