The difficulties inherent to the execution of real-scale trials have led to the use of alternative techniques to study and forecast the behavior of large works. For this purpose, physical scale models are often used to reproduce the different phenomena and typical situations occurring in geotechnical works.
Using a given model and a testing tank filled with material of the same characteristics as the one at the study site, we attempt to evaluate the behavior of the structure under normal loads. In some cases it is also possible to use a special device, called a centrifuge, which allows trials to be performed with different accelerations to reproduce the conditions of stresses acting on the structure on its natural scale.
IPT owns one of the few centrifuges existing in Brazil and has ample experience in developing trials on reduced scale physical models. Its most frequent work has involved evaluations of the behavior of offshore structures, especially new foundation elements, risers and pipelines.