Installation of Geotechnical Centrifuge in the Civil Engineering Laboratorium nearly complete
By SW Jacobs
Posted on 03 February 2012
The installation process of the geotechnical centrifuge in the Civil Engineering Lab is nearing it's completion.
The Department has received funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) to get 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 will be the biggest in the southern hemisphere and will only be the second one in Africa. It will be capable of accelerating model weighing up to one ton to 150 times earth’s gravity - 150G!!
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 will therefore introduce a new dimension in terms of technology into our laboratory with new state-of-the-art electronic equipment.
The centrifuge, weighing approximately 20 tons, which was manufactured by the French company, Actidyn, has arrived in South Africa and has been installed. The electrical installation as well as a brand new, state-of-the-art laboratory still need to be completed in the basement of the Civil Engineering laboratory on the University’s main campus.
We hope to be able to introduce our students to centrifuge modelling by the end of the first semester of 2012.