Institute of Structural Engineering
Head of the Institute:
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alfred Strauss
The future of the structural engineering lies in innovative materials, novel construction processes and performance oriented design methods, always in view of the complex demands arising from life-cycle and sustainability issues. The long-term monitoring of a structural element from its construction (birth) up to its demolition (end of life) with state-of-the-art sensor systems plays a leading role. Experience gained in this way is applied directly to the optimization of inspection and conservation measures, and is also reflected indirectly in the adaptation of design concepts.
The world is not deterministic. Each geometrical value, each load and every assumption is subject to uncertainties, which need to be captured and evaluated in order to assess the existing safety level of an engineering structure and to ensure its safe operation throughout the planned service life. Integrated monitoring systems make it possible to determine the time-dependent behavior of bridges and tunnels, of power plants and protection structures with highly increased efficiently, thereby facilitating the precise alignment of the maintenance cycles with the operation modalities. The result is a resource-friendly, cost-effective conservation practice with minor disruptions to operation and functional capability.
The Institute for Structural Engineering aims to equip its future engineers with thorough and comprehensive training in both the technical disciplines and natural science, thereby providing a solid foundation which will enable them to confidently meet future challenges in engineering practice and research. In addition to basic education in mechanics, materials science and the construction industry, the institute offers training in three further subject areas:
- Fastening technology
- Structural mechanics
- Resource-oriented construction
The central objective that combines these three areas is the coordinated development of new sustainability and life cycle oriented concepts and of probabilistic based assessment concepts in view of the service life of fastening elements as well as engineering structures and buildings, taking into consideration both time-dependent processes and energy aspects.
The experimental research on the level of materials and structures is performed by an experienced and well-trained team and in a state-of-the-art laboratory with national and international accreditations as a testing laboratory for fasteners and hardened concrete.
In the area of fastening technology, research on the technical service life of engineering structures under different load and environmental impacts has been conducted since 2014, per the Christian-Doppler-Laboratory Life-Cycle Robustness.