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Home > Large Equipments > The Coriolis rotating platform


- Technical information


- Scientific manager Joël Sommeria  , Eletta Negretti
- Technical manager Samuel Viboud  , Thomas Valran


The Coriolis platform, 13 m in diameter, is the largest rotating platform in the world dedicated to fluid dynamics. Its main activity is the experimental modeling of geophysical flows, taking into account the rotation of the Earth, in the presence or not of density stratification or topography. The large size provides access to the inertial regimes that characterize ocean dynamics, with little influence of viscosity and centrifugal force. Laboratory experiments can thus provide support to model ocean dynamics and develop their physical parameterizations.

The platform has been recently rebuilt, achieved in 2014, on the model of the old platform build in 1960, with many improvements,
- information about the new design
- information about the construction process.
- history of the first Coriolis platform.

The measuring equipment includes ultrasonic velocity meters, profilers for salinity and temperature. Measures are increasingly focused on digital image processing. Concentration fields are obtained by laser fluorescence (LIF), and velocity fields by image correlation (PIV). These techniques allow three-dimensional measurements in volume by a scanning system of the laser plane.

Platform and its staff are related to the team MEIGE, ’ M odélisation, Expériences, Instrumentation for Géophysique and Environment ’. The installation, however, intended to host researchers from outside the national and international level. It is well connected to both ’Integrated Infrastructure Initiatives’ European HYDRALAB on water and the environment EUHIT on turbulence. Researchers from European institutions can get funding for projects on this infrastructure: please contact Joel Sommeria for further information.

A small turntable for teaching and demonstration is also available.

The Coriolis platform
The Coriolis platform
Photothèque CNRS M. Fresillon

A new configuration of annular channel will allow researchers to study the transport and morphodynamics of sediment in a ’river’ in an endless configuration, without end effects.

configuration of annular channel with rotating entrainment disks

Some photographs of reconstruction:

Chantier de construction le 20/10/2012
Support for the new rotating platform and storage tanks
Peripheral support rail, fabrication process
Central shaft
view of the building, office section
Basement of the new rotating platform and storage tanks, Feb. 2013