On a typical day, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) shaker tables subject satellite-lifting rockets to take-off vibrations. Now, an 8-tonne cooling system sits on the shakers, fortifying its components against violent earthquakes.
The system is built to remove heat from industrial-scale data centers with improved efficiency over traditional designs—using just one-fifth the energy. It’s vital the equipment meets stringent seismic testing requirements, especially for the Japanese market. It measures 6 x 4 x 5 m, and was manufactured in Belgium by air treatment and climate solutions company Munters.
It took 3 hours for the design to reach ESA’s Netherlands Test Center in Noordwijk. There it underwent an earthquake test to prove it can function with a peak ground acceleration of 1 G on three axes. These conditions are equivalent to a violent Level IX earthquake, based on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale.
Level IX is defined as, “Damage considerable in specially designed structures; well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations,” according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
It was up to ESA’s Hydra Multi-Axis Hydraulic Shaker to perform the earthquake trials.
“Hydra’s hydraulic actuators move an 18-tonne shaker table in all three orthogonal axes simultaneously, in a similar fashion to an aircraft flight simulator,” says Alexander Kuebler of ETS, the company operating the Test Center for ESA.
“The motion of these actuators is overseen by a network of 36 parallel computers. The entire installation is braced by a seismic mass supported by springs and shock absorbers to prevent the resulting earthquake-strength vibrations spreading through the rest of the Test Center. Up to 512 acceleration measurement channels can be used during testing, acquiring the maximum possible data for the customer,” Kuebler adds.
You can watch a video of the shake test below.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense