ZJU leads in building of world's most powerful hyper-gravity centrifuges


The National Development and Reform Commission as given its seal of approval to Zhejiang University for leading the construction of Centrifugal Hyper-gravity and Interdisciplinary Experiment Facility (CHIEF) as part of China’s key sci-tech infrastructure recently.

Centrifugal modeling first proposed by the French scientist E. Philips in 1869

CHIEF—a comprehensive hyper-gravity and interdisciplinary experiment facility with the largest capacity and the most extensive application worldwide—is expected to be completed in five years, with funding of more than 2 billion yuan.

CHIEF, planned to be located in Hangzhou Future Sci-tech City, will be spearheaded by Chen Yunmin, an engineering professor with the College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Zhejiang University. He is also a fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

CHIEF is a large-scale complicated scientific experiment facility integrating the hyper-gravity field and an extreme environment which is labeled as a revolutionary engineering device. It utilizes such scientific effects of the hyper-gravity field as time and space compression as well as accelerated phase separation so as to significantly promote the scientific research ability of mankind.

With the expeditious development of China’s economy, a series of key research issues in such national strategic areas as large-scale hazard mechanisms of rock and soil mass, collapse of dams over 300-meter high, diachronic transport of underground nuclides, disasters related to deep underground and deep-sea projects, the tectonic evolution of over 100-kilometer geological structures, and synthesis of high-throughput materials, pose urgent demands for high-speed and heavy-load centrifugal facilities with an ultra-large capacity.

CHIEF will fill the void in the domain of super-large hyper-gravity experiment facilities in China. As an indispensable experiment device, it will provide an advanced experiment platform and offer immense support for the development and verification of major engineering technologies as well as research into cutting-edge matter-related sciences.

Its capacity will exceed 1,500 gravity tons (gt), compared with the 1,200-gt centrifuge developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the world’s most powerful to date., Its highest centrifugal speed will be as high as 1,500 times of the gravitational acceleration, and its largest load will surpass 30 tons. Its main body will be comprised of two centrifuges and six hyper-gravity experimental capsules. It will be applied to 6 different fields, including slopes and high dams, geotechnical and earthquake engineering, deep-sea engineering, deep underground engineering and environment, geological processes and new material manufacturing.

CHIEF will be a multifunctional platform for interdisciplinary hyper-gravity experiments. When completed, it will render vigorous support for research into exploration of underground and deep-sea resources, disaster control, waste disposal and manufacturing of new materials,” said Chen Yunmin.