Beam Centrifuge

The beam centrifuge was designed to simulate vertical and lateral forces up to 80th the scale of prototype structures. A heavily reinforced 0.6 m wide swing carriage accommodates strong boxes and assemblies for test instrumentation. The rotation of the carriage and model is driven by a 15 horsepower motor which is controlled by a variable frequency drive calibrated for the system dimensions. The system is operated by setting the rotational frequency based on the desired centrifugal acceleration or scale, N, and monitored using 4 static accelerometers on the beam and carriage. The centrifuge can operate with a payload up to 12.5 g-tons (e.g., at 1 g – 12.5 tons and at 80 g – 0.156 tons). Custom control software and interface enables the user to set the rotational velocity based on the desired test g-level. Onboard static accelerometers monitor the gravitational field on the centrifuge beam and the weight balance between the payload and dead load. As a safety control feature, the balance monitoring is set to trigger automatic stop of the centrifuge for a prescribed level of out-of-balance forces. The system is controlled through a National Instruments RIO (NI RIO) that monitors 3 emergency stop buttons, the balance system, controls the VFD and camera feeds. The NI RIO communicates with another RIO that is on the centrifuge for test instrumentation and a model camera feed. The NI RIO system is network enabled and permits the test measurements and observations available in real time to outside participants.

Beam radius 1.5 m (59 in)
Carriage width 0.6 m (22 in)
Maximum payload 12.5 g-ton
Maximum payload area 3.7 ft2
Peak rated rotations per minute 235 rpm
Peak rated gravitational acceleration 80 g

Hardware and software components include:

National Instruments RIO Control System, housed in a wall mounted enclosure (12 in x 16 in) with communication to on-board National Instruments RIO system, computer system and custom application software. The following elements are included in each component:

Industrial Grade Computer System, includes:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-4790 Quad processor
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
  • VGA port
  • 4X USB ports
  • DVD±RW
  • 2.5” 500GB Solid State Hard Drive
  • Full Range 550W Removable Redundant Power Supply
  • 2-24” external LCD monitor
  • USB mouse and keyboard

National Instruments RIO system, to control VFD, cameras and emergency stop switches.

System includes:

  • 8 module slots
  • 1X 8-channel 0-5V analog input/output
  • 1X 16-channel sinking DI sourcing DO
  • 1X 8-channel 60 VDC/30 Vrms 750 mA SSR Relay

National Instruments RIO On-Board Data Acquisition System, includes:

  • 8 module slots
  • 3X 4-channel full bridge analog input module
  • 2X 32-channel ±10V analog input module
  • 2X 8-channel 350 ohm 1/4 bridge module
  • 1X 8-channel 60 VDC/30 Vrms 750 mA SSR Relay

ABB Variable Frequency Drive ACH500, includes:

  • 10 Horsepower
  • 440-500 V input
  • 0-500 Hz output
  • Reconfigurable for control by external control system

AXIS Network Cameras, includes:

  • 1X P1204 HD 720P
  • 1X M3027-PVE dome camera

Custom Labview Control Software, includes:

Multiple display panels, including:

  • Centrifuge and model cameras.
  • Balance monitoring system observation.
  • Real time performance on VFD and centrifuge rpms and balance for in flight adaptive control.
  • Real time monitoring of model stresses and displacements sampled, stored and fed from on board RIO.
  • Monitoring of emergency control system for interruption and centrifuge decelerating initiation.

Performance characteristics are shown below: