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ICAIR Facility - the UK

Brief Description

The Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre (ICAIR) is located at the University of Sheffield, England. It is a national research facility jointly funded by the University of Sheffield, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The laboratory's mission is to apply world-leading research to the construction and infrastructure sectors, with the aim of delivering step changes in productivity and resilience. ICAIR brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to accelerate innovation and develop long-term collaborations between academia and industry. A strong focus of ICAIR is translating disruptive technologies from sectors such as advanced manufacturing, robotics, and autonomous systems to the construction and infrastructure sectors. As part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure in Cities, ICAIR hosts the National Distributed Water Infrastructure Facility (NDWIF), a unique laboratory dedicated to researching the performance of distributed urban water infrastructure.

The wet part of ICAIR is a 40 m long, 6 m wide and 5 m deep indoor sandpit that can be used to experiment with live clean and wastewater pipes. At present, the pit hosts 110 mm ID MDPE pipes, 75 mm cast iron pipes, and 300 mm concrete pipes, which are connected to pumps and can be accessed through hydrants or manholes. They are instrumented with a range of sensors, including hydrophones, hydraulic pressure transducers, flow meters, and thermocouples. The facility has a suite of data acquisition equipment to collect data synchronously at sample rates up to 250 kHz over 16 channels. There is a set of 4 computer-controlled pumps and valves that enable fully automatic control of the water flow through these pipes with flow rates up to 200 l/s, allowing for autonomous experiments over a prolonged period of time. Additionally, there is a possibility to simulate dynamic loading on the pipes and surrounding soil using a set of computer-controlled hydraulic jacks with forces up to 10 kN. These jacks are attached to a set of mobile structural frames that overhang the sandpit. Furthermore, there are 4 coils with 110 mm ID MDPE pipes with a total length of 600 m, which are well-suited to study the propagation of transients over relatively long pipe lengths. These cutting-edge facilities, along with the Urban Flows Observatory, position the University of Sheffield at the forefront of research into next-generation infrastructure.

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