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Centrifuge Modelling for Civil Engineers


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Table of Contents

Modern geotechnical engineering design in civil engineering


Complex role of geotechnical engineers

Role of centrifuge modelling

Need for numerical and physical modelling


Use of numerical modelling in foundation design

Need for physical modelling

Benefits of centrifuge modelling

Benefits of numerical modelling

Complementarity of centrifuge modelling and numerical modelling


Uniform circular motion


Uniform circular motion

Basic definitions: centripetal and centrifugal forces

Use of polar coordinates in uniform circular motion

Coriolis force and Euler force


Principles of centrifuge modelling

Introduction to centrifuge modelling

Principles of centrifuge modelling

Concepts of a field structure, prototype and the centrifuge model

Scaling laws in centrifuge modelling

Modelling of models



Geotechnical centrifuges: Some design considerations

Introduction to geotechnical centrifuges

Beam centrifuges

Drum centrifuges


Errors and limitations in centrifuge modelling


Variation in gravity field

Radial gravity field

Particle size effects

Strain rate effects

Coriolis accelerations


Centrifuge equipment

Model containers

Model preparation techniques

In-flight actuators

In-flight soil characterization techniques


Centrifuge instrumentation


Types of instruments

Deformation measurement


Centrifuge data acquisition systems


Analog to digital conversion

Fundamentals of digital data logging

Time and frequency domains

Signal-to-noise ratio

Aliasing and Nyquist frequency



Shallow foundations


Bearing capacity of shallow foundations

Modelling of a shallow foundation in a laboratory

Centrifuge modelling of shallow foundations

Modelling of models


Retaining walls


Retaining wall models at laboratory scale

Simulating retaining walls in a centrifuge

Centrifuge testing of cantilever retaining walls

Anchored retaining walls

Centrifuge testing of L-shaped walls

Centrifuge modelling of propped walls


Pile foundations


Laboratory testing of pile foundations

Centrifuge modelling of pile foundations

Centrifuge modelling of pile installation

Centrifuge modelling of laterally loaded piles

Centrifuge modelling of tension piles

Negative skin friction in piles

Large-diameter monopiles


Modelling the construction sequences

Advanced centrifuge modelling

Construction sequence modelling

Modelling of staged excavations in front of a retaining wall

Modelling the interaction between a retaining wall and a building

Influence of diaphragm walls on a pile foundation

Modelling of propped retaining wall

Tunneling below an existing pile foundation

Tunneling below existing pipelines

Tunneling below a masonry structure


Dynamic centrifuge modelling

Modelling of dynamic events

Dynamic scaling laws

Discrepancies between general and dynamic scaling laws

Earthquake simulation in centrifuges

Saturation of centrifuge models

Centrifuge modelling of the dynamic soil-structure interaction problems

Centrifuge modelling of liquefaction problems



About the Author

Dr Gopal Madabhushi is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK and the director of the Schofield Centre. He has over 25 years of experience in the area of soil dynamics and earthquake engineering. His expertise extends from dynamic centrifuge modelling to the time domain finite element analyses of earthquake engineering problems, and has an active interest in the areas of soil liquefaction, soil-structure interaction, and liquefaction-resistant measures and their performances. Among other works he authored the geotechnical chapters in the book Seismic Design of buildings to Eurocode 8 (also published by Taylor & Francis).


"The author, who is the current Director of the Schofield Centre, has summarised his experience of over 25 years and the wealth of knowledge in this specialist area accumulated at that institution into this book. Traditionally imparted exclusively for institutions with research centres of excellence in centrifuge modelling, this book makes this knowledge and know-how of modern geotechnical centrifuge modelling technology readily accessible to the wider civil engineering community... graduate students would find it an essential reference when embarking on their centrifuge modelling research. Practicing engineers who wish to learn about centrifuge modelling or who are about to launch into solving complex geotechnical problems would find this book readable and informative. Certainly, a worthwhile investment..."
-Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers "This book will be very useful for research students. In most of the other books, very few topics are covered related to centrifuge modelling. However, in this book, a lot of important topics such as basic principles, limitation of centrifuge modelling, sample preparation, in-flight sample property determination, data acquisition, and applications in various areas are discussed. In this respect, the book is a complete package to researchers in this area as well as civil engineers who are keen to learn advanced physical modelling techniques."
-Dr. Pradipta Chakrabortty, Indian Institute of Technology Patna "It is written in an engaging and accessible manner that will be particularly useful in making non-specialists aware of the benefits and applicability of centrifuge modelling to problems of geotechnics and soil-structure interaction. In this way, I believe it will play an important role in increasing the visibility of the technique and its use by the civil engineering industry."
-Jonathan Knappett, University of Dundee, UK

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