The rock mechanics lab at Lamont-Doherty was once used by a famous experimental geologist, but then was quiet for awhile. Recently Lamont hired Heather Savage to take over the lab. She and a team of postdocs, undergrads, grads, and longtime staff engineer Ted are now rehabilitating and revamping the lab for exciting new experiments. I'm part of that team and I thought I would document the task with this blog. Enjoy!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

changing a gasket

So we've been suspecting for awhile that the vertical hydraulic piston on the biax might be leaking. Now that Nicholas has arrived to really start plugging away on some experiments, it became apparent that it needed fixing. Ted figured that we needed to change a gasket, which is no small feat. This week Ted and Nicholas slung a pulley system over a beam in the ceiling and carefully lifted out the cylinder.
 Inside that big yellow cylinder lives a whole series of concentric rings that fit together to form the seal. Ted and Nicholas inspected them all carefully. Most of them were all still in great shape, despite some forty odd years of usage. But one piece in particular was torn to shreds. They replaced the part, lugged the cylinder back up and reattached it to the biax frame.
Next thing on the docket is improving the hydraulic system on the vertical ram. Nicholas wants to add a reservoir system so that he can very quickly add and decrease the normal stress. Currently we only have a little hand crank. To be continued...


  1. how come you ladies are letting nico touch stuff? Just wondering.


  2. Haha! Well he did okay on this first trial project, so I guess we'll keep lettin' him touch stuff.