Volume 26, Issue 2 (June 2003)
Centrifuge Modeling for Undergraduate Geotechnical Engineering Instruction
A small, simple, and economical instructional centrifuge has been developed at the University of Colorado at Boulder to assist in undergraduate geotechnical engineering education. Centrifuge experiments on stability of slopes and retaining walls have been developed. These experiments are conceptually simple, yet fundamental, and do not require elaborate instrumentation and data acquisition. Classical failure patterns discussed in the class can be reproduced in the models. Experimental results can be used to verify such theories as undrained slope stability analysis and Rankine's or Coulomb's lateral earth pressure theories. Each of the tests can easily be conducted up to four to five times in a 2-h laboratory session. Comprehensive laboratory reports can be generated by students discussing both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the tests in relation to the theoretical concepts taught in the classroom. In addition to the experiments on slope stability and lateral earth pressures, demonstration experiments on footings and reinforced earth slopes have also been conducted using the instructional centrifuge.