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Geotechnical Centrifuges

Geotechnical centrifuges are used for research in geotechnical science, an area of civil engineering concerned how geological materials (dirt and rock) interact with the foundations of built structures such as bridges, roads, and houses. In a research laboratory, engineers use centrifuges to study the affect of gravity on soil samples or small-scale models of structures. The experiments serve to measure properties such as the strength, stiffness and capacity of foundations for bridges and buildings, the stability of hillsides and seawalls, etc. Small models do not weigh the same as a full size structure, of course, but the forces created by the centrifuge can artificially recreate the affects of gravity to provide accurate results.

Geotechnical centrifuge tests are important for understanding - and predicting - the effects of earthquakes on buildings, bridges, roads and the ground upon which they stand. That knowledge will enable us to build earthquake-resistant structures and reinforce existing structures to withstand the force of earthquakes.

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The centrifuge machine installed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is an Acutronic Model 665-1 constructed to RPI's specifications. It has an in-flight platform radius of 3.0m and can test a payload of 1 ton at 100g (or 0.5 ton at 200g).

Facility Specifications: Technical information

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University of California, Davis

The centerpiece of the University of California, Davis equipment site is a 9-m, 80 g centrifuge that can spin and shake models of soil layers and soil-structure systems. [also shown above]

Facility Specifications: Technical information

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