Home Education, Outreach, Training NEES Centrifuge Workshop 2008

NEES Centrifuge Workshop 2008

The centrifuge workshop was a great success. Due to the prominence of our facility and faculty, we were able to draw in visitors from both inside the United States, and around the world.

The presentation topics included:

  • An introduction to centrifuge modeling and scaling laws
  • Overviews of the RPI and UCD centrifuge facilities
  • NEESR09 System Identification
  • An in-depth look at experiences of research at RPI and UCD
  • Data analysis tools developed at RPI
  • NEESit
  • The NEES-Piles and NEES-Pipelines projects

The visitors were able to put their questions to the RPI and UCD faculty in a panel discussion format, and also in a one-to-one environment in the faculty offices.

In order to get a feel for the work we do and how could benefit the visitor’s research we also did hands of sessions.

The objective of these sessions was to showcase our facilities, and at the same time give our guests insight into our work.

Model Preparation, High-speed Camera, Split-box Demonstration

This hands-on session gave participants an introduction to model preparation for centrifuge testing. This included demonstrations and hands-on activities of pluviation techniques, sensor placement, and the saturation process. A demonstration of the high-speed camera and its capabilities was also included in this session. Participants were able to record a video with the high-speed camera and track critical targets within this video.

Model Preparation and Split Box Demonstration

While a model may take a week to prepare and consolidate, this hands on session was able to show the basic principles of assembling and designing the structure of a model.

To show what can be achieved we used a split box with water to demonstrate an active model.

High-speed Camera and Image Tracking

With centrifuge modeling, your tests can be over in seconds, and so to actually see what happens during this very short time, we use a high-speed camera capable of recording more than 50,000 frames per second.

In this section of the session, we demonstrated the High Speed Camera viewing an event that took less than a fraction of a second to happen.

The visitors were then able to track visible points of reference in video from the high speed camera using software.


Introduction to Sensors and RPI DAQ Software

This hands-on session introduced participants to the typical sensors used in centrifuge testing, e.g., strain gauges, pore pressure transducers, accelerometers, displacement transducers (LVDTs), and the calibration process for these sensors. Participants were also familiarized with the RPI data acquisition (DAQ) system and software. This session also included an introduction to some advanced sensors used in centrifuge testing, such as tactile pressure sensors.


This was a look at the different sensors we use, including some of the smallest and most sensitive pore pressure sensors in the world.

DAQ Software

This section showed off the DAQ software which is a combination of in-house software on top of National Instruments software and hardware.

NEESit Collaboration

Once you have the data, you want to share your results, this section showed how to make use of the NEESit collaboration facilities.


Centrifuge and Robot Operations at High G

This hands-on session gave participants an introduction to some of the basic operations of the Rensselaer centrifuge, such as operational software, safety and balancing, in addition to advanced operations, such as the use of the in-flight robot. Specific attention was paid to the use of the Cone Penetration Test (CPT) tool with the in-flight robot for research.

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