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MTS Designs Sophisticated Simulator To Help Protect Underground Utilities And Pipelines

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Sept. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- MTS Systems Corporation (NASDAQ: MTSC), a leading global supplier of high-performance test systems and sensors, today announced the development of a unique soil-structures interaction simulator that will help protect underground infrastructure from catastrophic damage.

MTS Systems Corporation. (PRNewsFoto/MTS Systems Corporation)

This first-of-a-kind system will be built in the new National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and be used to study the effects of soil displacement and ground movement on underground utilities, pipes and subsurface structures. Through settling and deformation, soil masses can be displaced and develop underground voids and regions of unstable faulting. The resulting stresses put tremendous forces on pipes that are buried underground, causing potential failures, leaks and ruptures. In the case of natural gas lines or oil pipelines, these ruptures can be extremely dangerous to people, wildlife and property. With this new simulation system, the university will better understand the complex process of soil deformation and its impact on buried structures.

This massive simulation system will have a five-by-ten meter moveable floor that can be buried under five meters of soil in a sophistically designed pit. The floor movement will be powered by fifty MTS DuraGlide actuators, and additional above ground actuators will control the motion of the soil and simulate subsurface ground displacements such as sinkholes in scale-model and full-scale tests. In the future, the university plans to use this revolutionary system to improve geophysical sensing for pipeline detection and condition assessment.  

"Aging infrastructure is a global concern and the soil stabilization solutions developed with this simulation system will help protect unseen underground infrastructure and provide a safer world for people, structures and the environment," says Dr. Jeffrey Graves, MTS President and CEO. "This installation represents the combination of MTS' unparalleled experience from across several market sectors. From designing and building large-scale simulation tables in the automotive and seismic research industries to providing multichannel controls and software from its extensive aerospace portfolio – MTS is the logical choice for creating this innovative solution."  Professor Nigel Cassidy, Head of Civil Engineering at University of Birmingham adds, "We are delighted to be working with MTS who bring considerable expertise and knowledge in hydraulic testing systems to help us build this world-leading facility." 

About MTS Systems Corporation

MTS Systems Corporation's testing hardware, software and service solutions help customers accelerate and improve their design, development and manufacturing processes and are used for determining the mechanical behavior of materials, products and structures. MTS' high-performance sensors provide measurements of vibration, pressure, position, force and sound in a variety of applications. MTS had 3,500 employees as of September 30, 2017 and revenue of $788 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017. Additional information on MTS can be found at:

About the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world's top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.


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