Sensors are a critical component of physical modeling. They produce information that is used to quantify and understand physical phenomena. The centrifuge facility at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute uses many types of sensors and instrumentation. The two videos available here introduce two types of sensors: tactile pressure sensors and bender elements.
A tactile pressure sensor is composed of approximately 2000 sensing elements (sensels). They are a resistance based technology and can be calibrated over a wide range of pressures. Bender elements are piezoelectric transducers that are capable of generating and detecting mechanical waves in soil. They may be used to determine the small-strain shear modulus, shear wave velocity, and compression wave velocity of a soil media.
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