Volume 32, Issue 6 (November 2009)
Novel Computer-Controlled Saturation of Dynamic Centrifuge Models Using High Viscosity Fluids
The practice of saturating centrifuge models with a highly viscous pore fluid is widely used. As the fluid saturates the model, care must be taken to ensure that the hydraulic gradients are not too high to cause excessive disturbance to the model. A new computer-controlled saturation system (CAM-Sat) has been developed and implemented at the University of Cambridge to aid the saturation of soil models with a high viscosity pore fluid. Models are saturated under vacuum and pore fluid enters through ports in the model’s base. The system controls the ingress of pore fluid into the model by monitoring the fluid mass flux and then altering the pressure drop between a reservoir of pore fluid and the model. The system was found to be stable across a wide range of fluid viscosities and sand types. A further test showed that the system was able to respond to changes in mass flux demanded by the researcher.