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, 21 November 2012

Oh Mandy, Well you visited and you helped get the triax running...

Just like Barry Manilow, we are singing the praises of our visiting scientist, Mandy Duda. She came to Lamont this fall to run some experiments on the triaxial deformation apparatus. Her visit is funded by a postdoc fellowship from the German funding agency, DAAD. Her plan is to do some cyclical loading of rock samples, under confining pressure at various temperatures. But before she could start getting some data, she and Ted had a lot of work to do. A new burly intensifier to control confining pressure was added and connected to the hydraulic plumbing system (below left) and a Haskel air booster was wired up to help apply the confining pressure (below right).

After a lot of troubleshooting, she is now able to load her samples. Here she has wrapped her Westerly granite samples with copper tubing and is attaching it to the top closure nut. The blue stuff is rubber tubing that seals the interface between the sample and the end caps. Wires coming out the bottom (top) of the closure nut (which will be inverted when the sample is loaded) will send the temperature measurements to the command center and the computer. 
Sample is all loaded. Now she's just checking to see if things are aligned. She also connects the LVDT which will measure vertical displacement of the bottom piston.
It's go time! Here Mandy and Ted are at the command center applying a confining pressure to the sample for the first time. The rig has no trouble going up to and holding pressure at 60 MPa. Success! Next they will try to apply a vertical load to a sample, in addition to the confining pressure. Can't wait to see the results of her cyclic loading experiments!