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HANGZHOU - China plans to build two centrifuges for hyper-gravity experiments that, when completed, will become the world"s largest by capacity, scientists said Wednesday.
The centrifuges are designed to each have a capacity of at least 1,500 gravity tons (gt), compared with the 1,200-gt centrifuge developed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the world"s most powerful to date.
The project is expected to be completed in five years, with funding of more than 2 billion yuan (about $303 million).
The project, planned to be located in China"s eastern city of Hangzhou, will be spearheaded by Chen Yunmin, an engineering professor with Zhejiang University. He is also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of China"s top think tanks.
One of the planned centrifuges will give researchers access to a range of hyper-gravity up to 1,500 times of Earth gravity and the other up to 600 times.
The development of the new machines will be based on a two-arm, 9-meter-diameter centrifuge that has been in operation at Zhejiang University.
Along with the two hyper-gravity centrifuges, Chen"s team will also develop six hyper-gravity labs and other supporting equipment.
Chen said he aims to develop the facility into a multifunctional platform for interdisciplinary hyper-gravity experiments.
"The centrifuges will provide strong support to research in areas such as underground and deep-sea exploration, disaster control, waste disposal, and new material manufacturing," said Chen.
Hyper-gravity will enable scientists to simulate a deep-sea environment thousands of meters below the sea level, in which they can easily test the mining of natural gas hydrate, or combustible ice, Chen said.