Main Menu

See All Software See All Instruments See All Transducers See All Vibration Testing Equipment See All Electroacoustics See All Acoustic End-of-Line Test Systems See All Academy See All Resource Center See All Applications See All Industries See All Services See All Support See All Our Business See All Our History See All Global Presence

Main Menu

See All nCode - Durability and Fatigue Analysis See All ReliaSoft - Reliability Analysis and Management See All Test Data Management See All DAQ Software See All Drivers & API See All Utility See All Vibration Control See All High Precision and Calibration Systems See All DAQ Systems See All S&V Hand-held Devices See All Industrial Electronics See All Power Analyzer See All S&V Signal Conditioner See All Acoustic Transducers See All Current and Voltage Sensors See All Displacement Sensors See All Force Sensors See All Load Cells See All Multi Component Sensors See All Pressure Sensors See All Strain Sensors See All Strain Gauges See All Temperature Sensors See All Tilt Sensors See All Torque Sensors See All Vibration See All Accessories for Vibration Testing Equipment See All Vibration Controllers See All Measurement Exciters See All Modal Exciters See All Power Amplifiers See All LDS Shaker Systems See All Test Solutions See All Actuators See All Combustion Engines See All Durability See All eDrive See All Production Testing Sensors See All Transmission & Gearboxes See All Turbo Charger See All Training Courses See All Acoustics See All Asset & Process Monitoring See All Custom Sensors See All Data Acquisition & Analysis See All Durability & Fatigue See All Electric Power Testing See All NVH See All Reliability See All Vibration See All Weighing See All Automotive & Ground Transportation See All Calibration See All Installation, Maintenance & Repair See All Support Brüel & Kjær See All Release Notes See All Compliance

Main Menu

See All API See All Experimental Testing See All Electroacoustics See All Noise Source Identification See All Environmental Noise See All Sound Power and Sound Pressure See All Noise Certification See All Industrial Process Control See All Structural Health Monitoring See All Electrical Devices Testing See All Electrical Systems Testing See All Grid Testing See All High-Voltage Testing See All Vibration Testing with Electrodynamic Shakers See All Structural Dynamics See All Machine Analysis and Diagnostics See All Dynamic Weighing See All Vehicle Electrification See All Calibration Services for Transducers See All Calibration Services for Handheld Instruments See All Calibration Services for Instruments & DAQ See All On-Site Calibration See All Resources See All Software License Management

University of Pretoria: Geotechnical Centrifuge

Company name, Country


Geotechnical centrifuges facilitate the modeling of complex processes in the soil. Reliable data acquisition is as important as the centrifuge itself.


Reliable Results at 150G Using QuantumX for Data Acquisition in a Geotechnical Centrifuge

Safe ground under our feet -- this is what we all want. However, soilis composed of many different components, and the highly dynamic processes that can occur within the soil can destabilize buildings and infrastructure facilities in a very dangerous way.  Geotechnical centrifuges facilitate realistic modeling of the complex relationships of stress and strain processes under load in the soil. However, reliably measured data acquisition is just as important as the centrifuge itself.

For this reason, engineers at Pretoria University trust HBK's QuantumX data acquisition system in combination with their state-of-the-art geotechnical centrifuge. Building the ultra-modern "Gautrain" railroad line linking the South African metropolises of Pretoria and Johannesburg, engineers faced a big problem. In the south of Pretoria, the train's route was to cross a karst landscape characterized by dolomite bedrock prone to the formation of sinkholes. To safely build a viaduct on this subsoil, complex full-scale surcharge experiments had to be carried out involving the assembly of over 1,000 heavy concrete blocks weighing ten tons each in order to explore the stiffness of the ground above potential sinkholes.

Geotechnical Centrifuge

Since the results of the full scale tests were highly variable, the behavior of the concrete block surcharge stacks  was explored more in detail  in the Centrifuge Laboratory at Pretoria University, which officially opened in June 2012. 

The laboratory is among the most advanced technical institutes in this field worldwide, and has outstanding technical highlights to offer.  The centrifuge, manufactured by the French company Actidyn, can accelerate a mass weighing up to one ton to 150 times Earth's gravity (150G). This extremely high acceleration is needed to simulate as realistically as possible the complex stresses and strains occurring in the soil.

INTERNAL USE - Case Study  university-of-pretoria uni-pretoria_01

The Geotechnical Centrifuge at the University of Pretoria

Data from Many Transducers and Sensors

Such complex experiments also require continuous acquisition of many different parameters and measurement quantities. In addition to cameras used for particle image velocimetry, actuators and different sensors have been integrated with the centrifuge for measuring:

  • Displacement using LVDTs, potentiometers, and laser displacement sensors and scanners
  • Pressure using hydraulic pressure transducers measuring soil pressure
  • Force/Weight using strain-gauge technology-based load cells
  • Temperature

HBK's QuantumX DAQ system is used for data acquisition. QuantumX shows particular advantages when many different measurement quantities need to be acquired -- even when different transducer technologies are involved. More than any other data acquisition system, QuantumX offers outstanding versatility and flexibility. Advanced Plug & Measure allows transducers based on different technologies to be easily connected to the QuantumX modules. You can start measuring immediately. The measurement data acquisition system does not require any complex settings or configuration. The following QuantumX modules guarantee reliable measurement in the geotechnical centrifuge: 

Ethernet and fiber optic cables with 1 GB throughput are used for data transmission.

Advantages of Experiments Using Centrifuges

This test setup that offers many advantages to engineers of Pretoria University allows modeling of complex 3D problems using simple means. Engineers can precisely observe actual physical events and mechanical processes, while at the same time benefiting from reliable data acquisition equipment from HBK.

INTERNAL USE - Case Study  university-of-pretoria uni-pretoria_03

Advantages with HBK

  • Reliable data acquisition for complex measurements
  • Support of inumerous transducer technologies in one device and systems. 


About University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria (UP) is a seven-campus public university with its largest campus in the heart of Hatfield, the picturesque diplomatic hub of South Africa’s capital city. We’re proud to stand among the world’s leading research universities.

Technology used

Other case studies

Showing 9 of 512 items
No more result to load