Strong Reaction Frame Facility

The BCERL Lab is also equipped with a strong floor and reaction frame capable of applying over 400 kips of cyclic lateral load to various wall, frame, and slab assemblies. The facility primarily is used to perform in-plane and out-of-plane shear loading tests of wall and frame systems and building components. This facility can also be configured to perform gravity load testing on different types of framing systems and prism tests on masonry systems. The facility concrete pad and steel reaction frame can accommodate systems up to 12 ft. in length, 6 ft. in width and 8 ft. in height for testing.

A variety of ENERPAC hydraulic actuators are available in the lab to apply load or displacement profiles to the system under test, and multiple actuators can be set up to apply loads simultaneously at multiple points. Displacement, strain, rotation, pressure, and temperature sensors are routinely used with the facility for real-time tracking of the serviceability of the system under test. These sensors are strategically placed to understand how components behave during testing and to support the development of models to predict the behavior of systems.

Testing Capabilities

  • In-plane loading to simulate gravity load testing of panels
  • In-plane and out-of-plane lateral load testing of walls and frames
Strong Frame Facility
Flexural test of mortarless masonry wall specimen


The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304