Genesis of the national geotechnical centrifuge facility - A 30 year perspective

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    Australia's National Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility (NGCF) was launched in 2016 following some 30 years of developing a world-leading capability for conducting appropriately scaled centrifuge model tests in the field of geotechnical engineering. The first centrifuge was installed at the University of Western Australia in 1989, funded partly on the basis of improving the design of piled bridge abutments. Increasingly over the last three decades, the application area shifted from onshore to offshore problems associated with the design of suitable foundation, anchoring and pipeline systems to exploit Australia's offshore oil and gas reserves. A second centrifuge was purchased in 1991, but these two machines have recently been dwarfed by a new 10 m diameter centrifuge housed in the recently completed building for the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre. The centrifuge has a payload capacity of 240 g-tonnes, capability of spinning a 2.4 tonne test package at up to 100 gravities. The NGCF, which now comprises three centrifuges, is supported by a team of 9 technicians who provide the necessary mechanical fabrication, electronic, software and operating skills, overseen by a Director and a Manager. Establishment of the first geotechnical centrifuge in the southern hemisphere nearly 30 years ago has since led to industry-funded research that has underpinned major onshore and offshore infrastructure projects, and has had a major impact on developing robust design approaches particularly within WA's offshore oil and gas industry. The NGCF has the potential to broaden the impact throughout Australia, addressing the geotechnical challenges of future investment in infrastructure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralian Geomechanics Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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