Time seems to speed up in new Deltares centrifuge
The Deltares research institute started using a new centrifuge on Thursday that can generate a gravitational force of up to 150g. That equates to 150 times the Earth's gravity. By increasing the gravitational forces in this way, it seems as if time is speeding up.
"Processes on the ground that actually take years are reduced to hours. A construction on the ground that you have not built before, for example, a tunnel or dike, can be tested for suitability in this way," explained Deltares.
Infrastructure and Water Management Minister Mark Harbers was responsible for the official opening of the GeoCentrifuge. It consists of a machine that can spin in circles at speeds of up to 340 kilometers per hour, plus all manner of associated technology to perform measurements. Only a few centrifuges of this caliber exist in Europe. By comparison, a fast roller coaster reaches about 5g when the track loops
Scale models measuring up to 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.8 meters fit inside the machine’s cabin. Deltares mentioned the development of the next generation of wind turbines as an example of where the new research facility will come in handy. "In the North Sea, these will be about 300m high within a few years. These dimensions have never been built before, and this has an effect on the design and implementation. Deltares is testing the foundations of the turbines in the centrifuge."
A scale model of a dike can also be subjected to extreme forces with the GeoCentrifuge. "Due to the changing climate, we want to know more about this."
Deltares expects to use the centrifuge and the associated research center for very diverse applications. “Our infrastructure in the water, energy, urban transport, and goods transport sectors is facing major challenges: from the effects of extreme weather to aging and more intensive use. The GeoCentrifuge can simulate the effects on both existing and new infrastructure,” the organization said.
Deltares added that the “innovative research facility is of major importance for a resilient and sustainable infrastructure,”, particularly in the face of climate change, land subsidence, and pressures society faces on its available amount of space.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times