Flow visualisation in a geotechnical centrifuge under controlled seepage conditions

Christopher Beckett, Andy B. Fourie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Image analysis is a powerful tool to obtain high-resolution displacement data from centrifuge models non-destructively. However, ‘invisible’ features, for example the phreatic surface, cannot be captured. Rather, analysis must rely on traditional measurement techniques, e.g. pressure transducers. Depending on the geotechnical complexity of the model, such discrete technologies might be insufficient. In this paper,we describe the processes used to inject a tracking fluid to visually identify flow patterns through a model slope. The merits of three tracing fluids were assessed: acrylic-resin ink (“artist’s ink”); food-grade dye; and a fluorescent, low viscosity dye (sodium fluorescein). Results showed that the developed injection technique was able to deliver the fluid without otherwise affecting seepage conditions. Depending on the fluid selected, the technique was equally able to examine the migration of a dense contaminant, assess model homogeneity or identify hidden flaws.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Modelling in Geotechnics
EditorsAndrew McNamara, Sam Divall, Richard Goodey, Neil Taylor, Sarah Stallebrass, Jignasha Panchal
Place of PublicationUK
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780429438646
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-34422-8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2018


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