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Geotechnical Centrifuge Modeling

Currently the most reliable technique using small-scale tests of geotechnical phenomena to predict full-scale conditions in various environments, centrifuge modeling enables investigation of the response of equipment and facilities to the conditions they would encounter in their operational environment.

 C‑CORE’s geotechnical facility is equipped with a 5.5m-radius, 200G payload capacity geotechnical centrifuge (one of the largest in the world and the only one in North America designed to model cold region phenomena), soils and model preparation laboratories, and an advanced Actidyn earthquake simulator with a fully computerized control system that can generate several modes of excitation - sine, broadband noise or arbitrary transient waveforms with both amplitude and frequency control. 

Together, these provide the ability to closely replicate real-world conditions, including extreme cold, soils comparable to site conditions and multi-directional stresses and strains (as from wave action, earthquake, etc.).

We have also developed techniques to actuate and control tests while in flight in order to evaluate many different soil-structure interaction problems.  Stress or strain controlled tests are routinely used with either monotonic or cyclic loading sequences applied.  Advanced geotechnical instrumentation is routinely used to monitor stresses, strains and porewater pressures within the model test package.  We also have considerable experience using digital imagery (particle image velocimetry and photogrammetry techniques) to evaluate deformations within the model.

Left: Students reviewing a payload.

For more than 2 decades, C-CORE has accurately modeled a broad variety of events. Some recent geotechnical centrifuge modeling projects have investigated soil-structure interactions for steel catenary risers, pile foundations, drag embedded anchors, ice-seabed gouging problems, and ice rubble rock berm interaction problems.

C-CORE hosts graduate students, and researchers from across Canada and around the world, who use the facility for their reseach programs. 

Above: C-CORE centrifuge control room