Geographically distributed hybrid testing & collaboration between geotechnical centrifuge and structures laboratories
© 2018, Institute of Engineering Mechanics (IEM). All rights reserved. Distributed Hybrid Testing (DHT) is an experimental technique designed to capitalise on advances in modern networking infrastructure to overcome traditional laboratory capacity limitations. By coupling the heterogeneous test apparatus and computational resources of geographically distributed laboratories, DHT provides the means to take on complex, multi-disciplinary challenges with new forms of communication and collaboration. To introduce the opportunity and practicability afforded by DHT, here an exemplar multi-site test is addressed in which a dedicated fibre network and suite of custom software is used to connect the geotechnical centrifuge at the University of Cambridge with a variety of structural dynamics loading apparatus at the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol. While centrifuge time-scaling prevents real-time rates of loading in this test, such experiments may be used to gain valuable insights into physical phenomena, test procedure and accuracy. These and other related experiments have led to the development of the real-time DHT technique and the creation of a flexible framework that aims to facilitate future distributed tests within the UK and beyond. As a further example, a real-time DHT experiment between structural labs using this framework for testing across the Internet is also presented.