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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The NEES geotechnical centrifuge at UC Davis


The Center for Geotechnical Modeling at UC Davis operates a 9.1-m radius geotechnical centrifuge equipped with a 2 m x 1 m servo-hydraulic shaking table. This equipment has been used in geotechnical earthquake engineering research since 1994. In October 2000, UC Davis was selected as a host equipment site on the National Science Foundation's George E. Brown, Jr., Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. This four-year upgrade project represents a $5M investment in the UC Davis centrifuge facilities by NSF with an additional $1M from UC Davis. NEES at UC Davis capitalized on the size of the centrifuge and innovations in instrumentation and information technology to enable generation of higher resolution information (control, sensors, and images) and to create more realistic physical models. With NEES the Center for Geotechnical Modeling is working to implement advanced instrumentation, digital video, robotics, and geophysical testing to increase the quality and quantity of data that can be collected; to increase the capacity of the centrifuge; and to develop a biaxial shaking capability. These improvements will allow us to extract more detailed and more accurate information from experiments and simulations, maximizing the information and knowledge that can be gained from these experiments. The Center for Geotechnical Modeling facilities are intended for use by researchers from academia and industry, from both the US and abroad. The centrifuge at UC Davis will be a shared-use facility under NEES, with experiments being performed by teams of researchers. New hardware and software developments are currently being implemented as part of the NEESgrid System Integration project. These new resources will allow teams to collaborate regardless of their physical location. Remote researchers will be able to control their experiments at UC Davis as easily as local researchers. Further information about the UC Davis NEES site can be obtained at, or by email to

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