Geotechnical centrifuge laboratory
The Department of Civil Engineering has received funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the University to purchase a geotechnical centrifuge. A geotechnical centrifuge is used to subject small scale models of geotechnical problems to high accelerations. This is necessary to get the soil in the model to behave realistically because the stress-strain behaviour of soil is highly non-linear. Our geotechnical centrifuge is currently the biggest in the southern hemisphere and is only the second one in Africa. It is capable of accelerating models weighing up to one ton to 150 times earth’s gravity (150G). The centrifuge, weighing approximately 17 tons, was manufactured by the French Company, Actidyn, and was successfully installed and commissioned in February 2012. A brand new, state of the art centrifuge laboratory has been prepared in the basement of the Civil Engineering laboratory on the University’s main campus and was formally opened by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, on 13 June 2012.
Due to the model spinning around at high velocity all measurements and observations on the model have to be done remotely using electronic sensors and modern data acquisition systems. Centrifuge modelling is therefore introducing a new dimension in terms of technology into the laboratory with new state of the art electronic equipment. The primary purpose of the centrifuge is to carry out research of geotechnical, geological and mining related problems. It is also available for commercial testing.
Please contact Prof SW Jacobsz for further information (firstname.lastname@example.org).