The rock and ice mechanics lab at Lamont-Doherty is led by PIs Heather Savage, Christine McCarthy and Ben Holtzman. We are in the process of growing our lab and building our experimental program. Along with a team of postdocs, undergrads, grads, and longtime staff engineer Ted, we are rehabilitating and revamping some of the old equipment and building new rigs for exciting new experiments on both rock and ice. You can follow along with our progress here.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

"Triax this is Houston, do you read?"

Ted and Heather got a lot of work done on the Triaxial apparatus while I was away. For one thing, they got the pressure vessel all lined up and then set up these two blue mini-versions of the vessel, called intensifiers, that control the confining pressure and the pore fluid pressure (so, one controls the pressure outside the sample and the other, inside). We'll use kerosene for the confining liquid. There's also that row of seven things sitting atop the mini-vessels. I don't know what they do yet but I'm excited to find out.
In addition, there are now big hoses going to and from the vessel and intensifiers and a burly hydraulic fluid pump. The pump is so powerful and loud that it sits in its own insulated doghouse outside the lab, otherwise it would drive us all crazy.
And one very exciting development is that they rewired the old control panel that will be used to communicate with the Triax. Since the rig will get up to very high pressures during experiments, you really don't want to be standing next to it while it is running. Rather, you want to be safely around the corner at this groovy old school station, complete with analogue Heise pressure gauges (on the blue wall panel) and all the digital readings you require.

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