The Department of Civil Engineering, located in Ellis Hall at 58 University Avenue, houses lecture halls active learning spaces, and world-renowned research facilities. The Department also has research facilities located in the Civil Environmental Engineering Laboratories in Mitchell Hall at 69 Union St., the Coastal Engineering and GeoEngineering labs located at 950 Johnson St. on West Campus, the Kennedy Field Station in Tamworth ON, and the Queen’s University Environmental Liner Test Site (QUELTS) located in Godfrey, ON. These cutting-edge facilities allow us to offer unique hands-on learning experiences for our undergraduate students and enable our world-leading faculty and students to conduct innovative and impactful research tackling the most pressing challenges facing societies both now and in the future. 

Ellis Hall - Structures Lab

Located in the basement of Ellis Hall, the Structure’s Laboratory is designed to test full-scale structural components and subassemblies under realistic loading, including dead or live loads, cyclic earthquake, wind, or fatigue loads, and realistic traffic loads using Canada’s only Rolling Load Simulator (ROLLS). Through physical testing, numerical modelling, or combined physical-numerical hybrid testing researchers can better understand how our civil engineering structures (e.g., building and bridges) behave under realistic conditions and ensure we have safe and functional infrastructure. 

The state-of-the-art Structures Lab includes a 380m2 high bay testing area with strong floor, a 380m2 low bay testing area, a concrete testing laboratory and a materials testing laboratory, all of which are equipped with various loading systems for testing structures, components, and materials. A closed-loop servo-controlled hydraulic power supply unit drives up to 10 dynamic actuators ranging from 100 kN to 2000 kN for static and dynamic load testing systems. In addition, a 2000 kN concrete cylinder tester, 100 & 1000 kN universal testing machines, and a 600 kN universal testing machine equipped with a muffle furnace for high temperature materials testing are available. Five programmable environmental chambers ranging in size from 10m2 to 38m2 are equipped for freeze-thaw, wet-conditioning/curing, and cold temperature testing. Advanced sensing infrastructure to enable researcher unprecedented insight into the behaviour of structural components and systems are also available, including static and dynamic distributed fibre optic analyzers for measuring distributed strains and a three-dimensional real-time digital image correlation system that provides full-field non-contact measurement of displacement or strains over surfaces up to 2 m x 2 m.


Mitchell Hall - Environmental Labs

The environmental laboratory complex in Mitchell Hall is equipped to carry out studies in water quality, water treatment, and groundwater research, hydrology of fractured rock, bioreactor systems, water distribution systems and human health studies. This 950m2 laboratory complex includes 4 (200m2) research laboratories, 2 of which are Level-2 biosafety labs (a waste water research lab and a drinking water research lab), a clean water research lab, and a groundwater research lab.  This facility also includes a temperature controlled environmental chamber, an analytical suite, a multi-purpose meeting room, a genetics suite and general use office space (hotel style). 

Coastal Engineering Laboratory

Established in the 1960s, the Queen's Coastal Engineering Laboratory (QCEL) is Canada's largest university operated hydraulics laboratory. The QCEL is a 1750 square-metre state-of-the-art facility operated by the Department of Civil Engineering. The lab contains the resources needed for fundamental and applied research and teaching in a broad range of water and geotechnical areas, specifically in the fields of River Engineering, Lake Dynamics, Coastal Engineering, Water Supply Systems, and Landslides.

Located on Queen's West Campus, this facility consists of:

  • Two 45 m long wave flumes
  • A large wave basin
  • Two river simulator flumes
  • A rotating fluids table
  • 20 m' landslide and submarine landslide
  • A tilting flume
  • A sediment transport flume

Examples of natural phenomena presently being investigated at the lab include the formation of dunes and bars under unidirectional (river) flows, erosion of steep coastal shorelines, mechanics of lake density currents and the effect of earth’s rotation on lakes, the generation of tsunamis by landslides, and instability associated with overtopping and erosion of earth dams.

The Coastal Engineering Laboratory is also home to Queen's River and Estuarine Morphodynamics Research Facility (Q- RIVEST).


GeoEngineering Lab

The GeoEngineering Laboratory is designed to undertake full-scale testing of buried infrastructure and enables our researchers and graduate students to work on projects from conception to completion in a controlled environment. Through both physical testing and computer analysis, researchers can discover more about how buried systems interact and behave in the field.

The GeoEngineering Lab allows researchers to test infrastructure with servo controlled hydraulic actuators that can apply up to 2600 kN (585,000 lbs.) of force on test samples buried at life-scale depths and in conditions consistent with standard highway construction techniques, using real or simulated truck service loading, and increasing loads beyond those up to ultimate limit states (i.e. testing infrastructure to failure).  Other test pits include the deep burial simulator that can test pipes up to 3m (10’) diameter at shallow and simulated burial depths (up to 17m), also permitting investigations of saturated ground behavior, and generating erosion of backfill into leaking pipes.  Researchers have access to various conventional and fibre optic strain sensors and data acquisition systems to monitor how the specimens react during testing and help model the behavior during posttest analysis.

Kennedy Field Station

The Kennedy Field Station (KFS) is a multi-use watershed facility located in Eastern Ontario on the Salmon River, an important Great Lakes tributary. With a naturalized riverfront, existing environmental instrumentation, a water control structure, and various soil and physical features within a sensitive geological setting, the Kennedy Field Station is an ideal teaching, research, and outreach tool for Queen's University and its partner organizations. The KFS delivers a vibrant array of teaching programs in watershed science and engineering. A fully functioning classroom, wet laboratory and outdoor teaching venue support a range of unique, hands-on programs throughout the year including the second year CIVL200 course, an introduction to Civil Engineering and professional skills run during orientation week in the fall term each year.

The Kennedy Field Station was donated to the Department of Civil Engineering in 2006 by Prof. Russell Kennedy, a former Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and senior administrator at Queen's. The first program at KFS, delivered by Dr. Novakowski, was on the hydrogeology of fractured rock. Participants engaged in an intensive field experience with industry-standard and novel techniques that characterize fractured rock.

The Department built upon the original facilities and instrumentation at the Kennedy Field Station and surrounding area to develop a comprehensive watershed monitoring system spanning along the Salmon River. This critical mass of water quality and water flow sensors has created a model watershed unique to the nation.