Testing infrastructure under extreme conditions
Dikes have to be safe, especially with a view to the changing climate and more extreme weather. In the GeoCentrifuge, for instance, Deltares tests scale models of water defence constructions under extreme conditions that hardly ever occur. Constructions not yet built, such as larger offshore wind turbines, can be tested for suitability, for example to check if the turbine foundations can withstand extreme forces. Infrastructure, like roads, tunnels, pipelines or railways, can also be tested in the GeoCentrifuge to study the effects of aging, increased use, or subsidence and climate change. Harm Aantjes, researcher at Deltares: ‘Thanks to the dimensions and range of this centrifuge, we can test infrastructure constructions under extreme conditions before they are built. This contributes to keeping our delta safe and liveable under changing circumstances.’
The development of this GeoCentrifuge took about a decade in total (from plan to realisation). The machine was built in France. The centrifuge has a maximum speed of 347km/hour, 3 revolutions per second at a gravity of 150g.
Opening by Minister Mark Harbers
The opening at Deltares was performed by Mark Harbers, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, and Annemieke Nijhof, general director of Deltares.
Mark Harbers: ‘It’s marvellous that they asked me to open the new GeoCentrifuge research facility. It allows us to collect the knowledge and data we need to meet the major challenges we are facing, such as water safety, the energy transition, and climate-proof construction. Authorities, business, knowledge institutes and Deltares will benefit from this, both nationally and internationally. It is also an investment in the internationally leading position of the Netherlands in water and soil management.’