With increased enrollment, the College of Engineering had outgrown B.B. Comer Hall by 1930. With the assistance of funds from the Public Works Administration, Hardaway Hall was built in 1936 and named after the University’s first full-time engineering professor, Col. Robert A. Hardaway. This space provided labs and classrooms for the mechanical and civil engineering programs.
H.M. Comer Hall opened in 1962 as the Mineral Industries Building. H.M. Comer Hall was named after Hugh Moss Comer, the son of Gov. Braxton Bragg Comer, a Birmingham industrialist who served as the first chairman of the Greater University Development Campaign. H.M. Comer became home to civil, chemical, metallurgical and mineral engineering.
After 18 months of extensive renovations, H.M. Comer Hall reopened in August 2018 as the home of the College of Engineering’s administration. The building includes the Patterson Welcome Center, the ACIPCO Engineering Career Development Center, the Brasfield and Gorrie Advising Center, the Dean’s office, External Affairs and Development, Financial Affairs, Information Technology and Engineering Services, and the offices for all seven academic departments.
The Science and Engineering Complex is home to all freshman chemistry instructional laboratories, biological sciences teaching and research labs, faculty and students from the chemical and biological engineering and computer science departments, science teaching labs for the College of Education, and space for the Science in Motion biology program.
Dedicated in 2004, Shelby Hall is one of UA’s largest academic buildings with more than 200,000 square feet. The pentagon-shaped hall is one of the most sophisticated campus science facilities in the nation and is home of the department of chemistry and UA research coalitions and centers in transportation, geosciences, energy, biosciences, chemical and material sciences.
Shelby Hall has more than 70 research labs, five teaching labs, three theater-style lecture halls, 40 offices for faculty and professional staff, and 80 offices for graduate students. In addition, an on-site glass blowing facility creates glassware for use in research projects.
Engineering research areas in Shelby Hall include software engineering.
Opened in January 2012, the South Engineering Research Center is the first building dedicated solely to the College of Engineering since H.M. Comer Hall was completed in 1960. The SERC, as it is abbreviated, sits across the new Science and Engineering Quad from Shelby Hall and the Science and Engineering Complex, as part of UA’s suite of research hubs designed to encourage collaboration across scientific disciplines
The three-story building has 175,000 square feet. There are seven large multimedia classrooms that include two with 40 seats, three with 50 seats and two lecture halls seating 90 people. There are more than 40 research and instructional labs including nine flexible-use instructional labs that can seat 36 students each. There is office space for 38 faculty and staff members and about 145 graduate students along with numerous meeting and conference rooms. Five of the College’s departments have office space in SERC, and faculty from the entire College use the classroom and instructional labs.
The fourth and final phase of the science and engineering complex opened in fall 2013. The four-story building has about 206,000 gross square feet that includes 59 research laboratories, five instructional labs and a 7,000-square-foot clean room. Used nearly entirely by the College of Engineering, the North Engineering Research Center focuses on research in materials characterization and technology, specifically in structural characterization, composite and nanocomposites, coating and corrosion, materials processing, welding and joining, as well as electronic, magnetic and photonic devices.
The Rodgers Library for Science and Engineering contains more than 220,000 books and bound journals and provides access to numerous specialized databases with electronic journals. The Rodgers Library was built in 1990 and named after Dr. Eric Rodgers, who was a physics professor and the dean of the graduate school from 1958 to 1971, and his wife Sarah Rodgers, who was a statistics professor at UA. The science collection from Lloyd Hall and the engineering collection from the Bevill Building were transferred to Rodgers.
The Tom Bevill Energy, Mineral and Material Science Research Building opened in 1990 as the first major energy research center in the Southeast and the first UA facility dedicated solely to research. It is named after U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill, who was instrumental in obtaining federal funding for the building. The 217,000-sqaure-foot facility is home to the geological sciences, environmental engineering labs, transportation engineering, metallurgical engineering and part of the aquatic biology program.
Located between Hardaway Hall and the old Bureau of Mines building, the foundry provides space and facilities for teaching, research and service to metal-casting and processing industries for students in the College of Engineering. The foundry is home to the Metal Casting and Solidification Research Facility.
The facility also adjoins a foundry used by the College of Arts and Sciences, and students from both colleges share expanded and renovated collaborative space. Students and faculty in both colleges learn from one another about the different kinds of investment, or mold-making, processes, as well as how to work with additional kinds of metals and alloys for different purposes.
The Machine Shop is located directly behind Hardaway Hall and in front of the Foundry. The staff offers help to students on their senior projects with the machinery located in the shop. It is also home to a key shop.
Paty Hall is located at 210 McCorvey Drive across the street from the Ferguson Center parking lot just south of Lakeside Dining Hall. The Freshman Engineering Program at The University of Alabama, located in Paty, is the designated engineering program for incoming freshman students as well as new transfer students to UA’s College of Engineering. This comprehensive program enhances the sense of community and belonging by the students and improves the instruction of and the introduction to the disciplines of engineering and computer science. The overarching goal is for students to be excited about a career in engineering or computer science and be prepared with the core knowledge in math, science, English and engineering to be successful in their later years on campus.
Cyber Hall is located on the northern section of the Bryce property at 248 Kirkbride Lane. It is the location of the College of Engineering’s Center for Advanced Public Safety, The University of Alabama Police Department and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force and the vice president for research and economic development’s Cyber Institute.
CAPS is committed to using state of the art technologies for research, software development and outreach to improve public safety. Computer Science faculty members perform research on cutting-edge approaches to solving the many data and information problems, while a number of full-time professionals direct software design and development. At the same time, CAPS identifies outstanding graduate and undergraduate students to participate on these projects.
Research Areas: Characterization of Composite Materials, Composite Materials, Composite Processing, Control and Manipulation at Micro/Nano-scale, Manufacturing and Failure of Composite Materials, Modeling and Simulation of Composite Processing, Nanostructured Materials
The Advanced Composite Materials Laboratory includes facilities for manufacturing, characterization and modeling of advanced composites and nanostructured materials. Compression molding hot press, filament winder, pultrusion equipment, single and twin-screw extruders and resin infusion vacuum pumps are available for manufacturing thermoset, thermoplastic and nanocomposites film, plates and structural components as well as nanostructured aerogels for thermal insulation applications.
Nanoparticle dispersion equipment such as ultrasonic bath, tip sonication and mechanical high shear mixer are also available for processing polymer nanocomposites. Fracture analysis and microstructural studies are carried out using available optical, scanning and transmission electron microscopes as well as x-ray diffraction in the Central Analytical Facility. An in-house FEA code (NOVA-3D) for predicting long term environmental durability of polymer and polymer composites is also available.
The Advanced Material Testing Laboratory in the South Engineering Research Center features multiple servo-hydraulic testing frames ranging in load capacity from 50 lbs to 250,000 lbs. The equipment is capable of fatigue testing materials and small structures in axial tension/compression, multiaxial tension-torsion, and combined bending and torsion. Related equipment includes an induction coil heating unit for thermo-mechanical fatigue, a high temperature isothermal furnace and a moderate temperature isothermal test chamber for material testing.
The Mechanical Testing Laboratory in the North Engineering Research Center contains a full suite of electromechanical and servohydraulic load frames capable of load capacities ranging from 100 to 10,000 kN at temperatures up 1600°C. The lab also houses a Gleeble 1600 thermomechanical simulator, split Hopkinson bbar, and a full nano- and micro-mechanical test lab with indentation and wear test capabilities.
The mission of the The University of Alabama’s Central Analytical Facility is to enable and facilitate collaborative, multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, multi-campus and regional research involving major research instrumentation.
The Central Analytical Facility, or CAF, houses more than $10 million of micro-analytical and microscopy equipment. The CAF is a general user facility – with access to on and off campus users. It is staffed with a full time laboratory manager and instrumentation specialists who provide training and maintenance of the instruments, in conjunction with manufacturer service contracts ensuring that all tools are functioning and operating within specifications.
The range of instruments can provide 1D, 2D and 3D imaging from the atomic scale to millimeters. In addition, several of the tools can provide chemical mapping and crystallographic orientation and diffraction capabilities. The CAF instruments and techniques include a local electrode atom probe, focused ion beam microscopes, transmission electron microscope, scanning electron and microprobe microscopes, X-ray photon spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction.
The Electromechanical Systems Lab (EMSyL) focuses on high-power motion control and energy conversion system development and integration topics such as thrust vector control systems, flight surface control systems, renewable resource generation, and hybrid/electric vehicles. The facility houses state-of-the-art development, fabrication, prototyping, testing, and instrumentation equipment. EMSyL research focuses on system integration and components of modern electromechanical devices and systems including power electronics, electric machinery, advanced energy storage, renewable resources, system-level control, and design optimization.
Research Areas: Battery Electric Vehicles, Combustion, Connected and Automated Vehicles, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Electric Vehicles, Emissions Measurement, Engines, Gas Turbine Combustion, Internal Combustion Engines, Laser, Low Emissions Power Systems
The Engines and Combustion Lab (ECL) is a premier facility in the South Engineering Research Center. The ECL consists of 11,000 square feet of high-bay space partitioned into six test cells, four instrument rooms between the test cells, two large work rooms, a central hallway, and substantial storage space. One large test cell houses a two-roller chassis dynamometer capable of measuring power output of front, rear, or four-wheel-drive vehicles up to 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and up to 350 hp per axle.
The other large test cell houses an AC engine dynamometer rated at 650 hp and up to 1360 ft-lbf torque. Emissions equipment includes a dilution tunnel and five-gas emissions analyzers for raw and diluted samples, plus particulates, capable of handling the exhaust of a 650 hp diesel engine at full load. Other available ECL instrumentation includes a fast-response Cambustion CLD500 NOx analyzer, fast-response TSI EEPS Particulate Spectrum and Number (PSN) analyzer, Thermo-Scientific REGA Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with heated sample line, fast-response (1 ms/amu) V&F AIRSENSE mass spectrometer, Cambustion HFR400 Fast-FID hydrocarbon analyzer, Koehler Instruments K45000 distillation analyzer, and a gas chromatograph system for product-gas analysis. Laser-based diagnostic instruments available are several Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) systems, including a time-resolved stereoscopic PIV system, a standard, low-speed PIV system, and a TSI Volumetric 3-component Velocimetry (V3V) system for 3D velocity-field measurements.
Also available is a high-speed TSI Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) system for time-resolved combustion species measurements. Other optical diagnostic systems include a quantitative rainbow Schlieren apparatus for whole-field scalar measurements, Schlieren, shadowgraph, and holographic interferometry systems for spray and flame imaging, a Laser-Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) system for velocity and turbulence measurements, and a Phase-Doppler Particle Analyzer (PDPA) system for point measurements of drop size/velocity.
The heart of the Large Scale Structures Laboratory (LSSL) is a 40-ft x 75-ft strong floor with moveable and stackable reaction blocks that can be positioned anywhere on the floor to allow maximum flexibly for test configurations. A full suite of dynamically-rated servo-hydraulic actuators dare available ranging from 35 kips to 330 kips. The lab is equipped to conduct hybrid-testing, including both seismic and wind response. A 10-ft x 10-ft x 10-ft soils pit is also housed within the LSSL. The centerpiece of the lab is a high-performance, uniaxial 12-ft x 13-ft earthquake simulation shake table with a maximum payload of 20 tons and a maximum acceleration of 1.2g.
Research Areas: Metals, Solidification Science and Engineering of Castings
The Metal Casting and Solidification Research Facility at The University of Alabama involves sand, die, investment and centrifugal casting of metals and alloys including gray iron, steel, aluminum, magnesium, superalloys, copper and titanium. The Foundry is equipped with three induction furnaces for melting cast iron, steel, brass, bronze, and aluminum-based alloys. The capacity of these furnaces ranges from 50-lb to 200-lb.
The foundry also houses a vacuum induction furnace with directional solidification capabilities for melting and casting superalloys that can produce up to 25-kilogram turbine components cast into ceramic-shell molds. Molding equipment and a core machine for making both green sand and pepset-based molds and cores are also located in the Foundry, as well as a sand-testing lab.
The UA Micro-Fabrication Facility (MFF) houses micro-patterning and plasma processing equipment in a Class 100/1000 clean room, similar to those used for producing microchips. Devices are patterned via photolithography using a Solitec 5110 spinner and Karl Suss MA6 mask aligner. Thin film deposition equipment include the SFI Shamrock sputtering system, Denton Vacuum Explorer electron-beam evaporator, and ST Systems PECVD. Plasma etching equipment include the ST Systems Advanced Silicon Etcher, ST Systems Advanced Oxide Etcher, Intelvac ion mill with Veeco ion source, 4-Wave Ion Beam Etcher, and Yield Engineering Systems YES-R3 plasma asher.
In addition, there are tools available for performing thin film metrology (Veeco Dektak V220-Si stylus profilometer, 4 Point Probe station, Zeiss Axioplan 2 optical microscope, Nanometrics Nanospec 212 Film Thickness Measurement System, Rudolph Auto-EL III ellipsometer, Flexus thin film stress tester). Research applications include materials and devices for computer disk drives, advanced memory, semiconductors (including photovoltaics), and various types of sensors.
The Precision Machining Laboratory houses several machines including a Hardinge Cobra 42 CNC Turning Center, a Cincinnati Arrow 500 VMC CNC Milling Machine, a Tormax Model 13-5 ROMI Engine Lathe, and a Bridgeport Legend Series I Milling Machine. The lab also has a range of process monitoring capability such as a Kistler 3-axis dynamometer (9257B) for cutting force measurements, acoustic emission sensors for tool wear monitoring, as well as thermocouples for cutting tool temperatures.
The University has a variety of Wind and Water Tunnels including a closed circuit low-speed wind tunnel, an open circuit low-speed wind tunnel, a water tunnel, and two blow-down supersonic tunnels for fluid dynamic research. Instrumentation available include volumetric 3-component velocimetry (V3V), digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV), laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV), Schlieren, high-speed photography systems for optical diagnostics, in addition to hot-wire anemometry, pressure, and load measurement capabilities. The wind speeds achievable are 5-45 m/s in the low speed wind tunnels, water tunnel has 10-50 cm/s flow velocity range, and the supersonic tunnels have Mach 1.65-4 range.
Tunnels can accommodate different size test articles. The subsonic tunnel test sections vary between 12″x36″ to 29″x44″ with 6 to 16 ft long test sections. The water tunnel has a 15″ x 30″ cross section and 9 ft length. Supersonic tunnels have two distinct cross sections one 3.5″ x 3.5″ and the other 6″x 6″. Research conducted in these tunnels include: shark skin drag reduction experiments, bio-inspired UAV wing design investigation, and shock-wave boundary layer interaction research among any other topics.
Research in the Welding and Joining Laboratory at The University of Alabama focuses on the joining of advanced materials for aerospace and automotive applications. The Welding and Joining Lab is equipped with a Lincoln Square Wave TIG 355 Welder, a Thompson A-1 Spot Welder and a Stanat Model TA215 2-Roller Mill. The TIG 355 is used for TIG (GTAW) and stick (SMAW) welding processes within the recommended output capability of 2 to 400 amps on both AC and DC polarity.
The Cube is located in H.M. Comer Hall and houses a variety of equipment for students, faculty, and staff to access Including a 3D printing lab, Electronic prototyping lab and traditional manufacturing equipment.
The Cube engages the University community by emphasizing collaboration, the creative process, active learning and leadership in an extracurricular environment and operated with students in positions of active responsibility.