The geotechnical centrifuge installed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a modified Acutronic Model 665-1. It has an in-flight platform radius of 3.0 meters and can carry a payload of 1 ton at 150 g (where 1 g is normal earth gravity). The platform is capable of handling multiple types of soil containers and accessories. Earthquake motions are simulated using 1- or 2-dimensional shaking platforms. These platforms are host to laminar containers, which reduce boundary effects that are present in rigid wall counterparts. Split-box containers can simulate various slip motions such as strike-slip and dip-slip faults.
The centrifuge is capable of supplying oil, water, and air to the platform via slip rings. Tasks may be performed while the centrifuge is operating through a 4 degree of freedom robot. High-speed and high-resolution cameras provide real-time visual monitoring. Custom data acquisition software allows for high- speed sampling of traditional sensors, including but not limited to: accelerometers, pressure transducers, LVDTs, laser displacement transducers, strain gages, and load cells. Additional hardware and software is used to collect data from advanced sensors.
The geotechnical centrifuge at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was commissioned on campus in August 1989. The centrifuge facility was financed jointly by the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) at SUNY Buffalo, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the State of New York, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.