A wireless high-speed data acquisition system for geotechnical centrifuge model testing

Christophe Gaudin, David White, Noel Boylan, John Breen, T. Brown, Shane De Catania, Philip Hortin

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    60 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper describes a novel high-speed wireless data acquisition system (WDAS) developed at the University of Western Australia for operation onboard a geotechnical centrifuge, in an enhanced gravitational field of up to 300 times Earth's gravity. The WDAS system consists of up to eight separate miniature units distributed around the circumference of a 0.8 m diameter drum centrifuge, communicating with the control room via wireless Ethernet. Each unit is capable of powering and monitoring eight instrument channels at a sampling rate of up to 1 MHz at 16-bit resolution. The data are stored within the logging unit in solid-state memory, but may also be streamed in real-time at low frequency (up to 10 Hz) to the centrifuge control room, via wireless transmission. The high-speed logging runs continuously within a circular memory (buffer), allowing for storage of a pre-trigger segment of data prior to an event. To suit typical geotechnical modelling applications, the system can record low-speed data continuously, until a burst of high-speed acquisition is triggered when an experimental event occurs, after which the system reverts back to low-speed acquisition to monitor the aftermath of the event. Unlike PC-based data acquisition solutions, this system performs the full sequence of amplification, conditioning, digitization and storage on a single circuit board via an independent micro-controller allocated to each pair of instrumented channels. This arrangement is efficient, compact and physically robust to suit the centrifuge environment. This paper details the design specification of the WDAS along with the software interface developed to control the units. Results from a centrifuge test of a submarine landslide are used to illustrate the performance of the new WDAS.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)Article number 095709, 11pp
    JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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