Volume 46, N. 1

January-March 2023

A new seismic tomography system for geotechnical centrifuges


Volume 46, N. 1, January-March 2023 | PDF (60 downloads)


Seismic tomography has been extensively used in geophysics for different purposes, including geological mapping, characterisation of inner earth structure and prospecting for oil and gas. In geophysics, seismic or electromagnetic waves are commonly used to provide tomographic information. In the geotechnical area, seismic tomography is emerging as a promising technique that can be used to determine the spatial variability of shear wave velocities and hence the small strain stiffness of geomaterials, especially when used in the centrifuge where in-situ stress conditions can be mimicked closely. This paper describes the development of a seismic tomography technique in the centrifuge. This technology can be used to image variations of soil stiffness under various mechanical, chemical and physical conditions. The paper describes the various components of the system, which includes arrays of small-size bender elements, hardware and software used to transmit, receive and acquire the shear wave signals during a centrifuge test. The paper illustrates the performance of the system at both 1g and in the centrifuge. Results of tomographic inversion performed on travel-time data obtained from these tests are discussed.

Keywords: Seismic tomography, Shear-wave velocity, Bender elements, Inversion, Travel-time, Centrifuge testing,

Submitted on January 23, 2022.
Final Acceptance on October 26, 2022.
Discussion open until May 31, 2023.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2023.000922