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    Volume 38, Issue 5 (September 2015)

    Special Issue Paper

    Centrifuge Modelling With Transparent Soil and Laser Aided Imaging

    (Received 30 September 2014; accepted 16 March 2015)

    Published Online: 09 September 2015


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    Transparent synthetic soils have been developed as a soil surrogate to enable internal visualization of geotechnical processes in physical models. While significant developments have been made to enhance the methodology and capabilities of transparent soil modelling, the technique is not yet exploited to its fullest potential. Tests are typically conducted at 1 g in small bench size models, which invokes concerns about the impact of scale and stress level observed in previously reported work. This paper recognized this limitation and outlines the development of improved testing methodology whereby the transparent soil and laser aided imaging technique are translated to the centrifuge environment. This has a considerable benefit such that increased stresses are provided, which better reflect the prototype condition. The paper describes the technical challenges associated with implementing this revised experimental methodology, summarizes the test equipment/systems developed, and presents initial experimental results to validate and confirm the successful implementation and scaling of transparent soil testing to the high gravity centrifuge test environment. A 0.6 m wide prototype strip foundation was tested at two scales using the principle of “modelling of models,” in which similar performance was observed. The scientific developments discussed have the potential to provide a step change in transparent soil modelling methodology, crucially providing more representative stress conditions that reflect prototype conditions, while making a broader positive contribution to physical modelling capabilities to assess complex soil–structure boundary problems.

    Author Information:

    Black, Jonathan A.
    Senior Lecturer & Director, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Centre for Energy and Infrastructure Research Centre, Univ. of Sheffield, Sheffield,

    Stock #: GTJ20140231


    DOI: 10.1520/GTJ20140231

    Title Centrifuge Modelling With Transparent Soil and Laser Aided Imaging
    Symposium ,
    Committee D18