UWA Adds Third Centrifuge to Its Geotechnical Modelling Facility (Video)

The University of Western Australia (UWA) is now home to the only geotechnical modelling facility in the world that operates three centrifuges after a third 26-tonne fixed-beam centrifuge was lowered by crane into the new Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre building after arriving from France last week.

The new facility is part of the National Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility (NGCF) and brings together six Australian universities. The NGCF is run by the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) and aims to service the national and international geotechnical engineering community by developing safe and economical geotechnical structures, notably for the offshore oil and gas and renewables industries.

The new centrifuge has a 10m diameter and is capable of spinning 2,400kg of soil at a G-level of 100, which is a force 10 times greater than an astronaut experiences during training. Results from centrifuge modelling are then applied to full-scale structures and used to help design pipelines, anchors and other offshore infrastructure, at a fraction of the cost and hazard when compared to full-scale testing, UWA said.

The centrifuge functions by spinning reduced scale foundation models at incredible speeds in order to simulate the stresses experienced by the soil at full-scale conditions.