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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-03-01 - 2024-02-29

The importance of design and life cycle optimization, as well as the evaluation of existing structures, is reflected in the amount of contemporary research effort currently directed at this topic (see "State of the Art" section). Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the results of such detailed research efforts have not found their way into everyday engineering practice. This is due to the fact that there are still some fundamental challenges that today lead to rather subjective decisions regarding design and life cycle optimization as well as evaluation of existing structures. First, it has been shown that the spatial variability of degradation processes in structures is of particular importance. However, until now, spatial characteristics have been simplified or often neglected. Attempts to investigate spatial and temporal phenomena in the analysis of structures, including noise barriers, have only been made recently, which is why only limited research results are available in this respect. Moreover, there is a lack of an appropriate framework for Bayesian updating to account for additional information on such phenomena as it becomes available. Many fundamental research questions on this topic therefore remain unresolved, and the development of application-specific methods for these fundamental insights is needed.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2020-11-01 - 2022-10-31

The transport infrastructure in Europe is ageing and this condition creates a high risk for safety. Take bridges and tunnels for example: in the last two decades, there have been nearly 30 road and railway bridge and tunnels disasters with more than 300 people killed and many more injured. The road and railway transport network forms the backbone of European transportation systems, accounting for more than 80% of passenger transport and 50% of goods transport in Europe. They play a decisive role in the functioning and development of Europe’s and regional economy. Road and railway bridges and tunnels are the critical nodes on the transport infrastructure network. Along the major European transport corridors in the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), there are over 1234 km of road bridges with 100 m or longer span. This critical infrastructure is ageing. Over 50% of the bridges in Europe are older than 50 years and have now reached the end of their design life. Besides, most bridges currently carry significantly more vehicles than what they were originally designed for. This urgent issue is both European and global. In the U.S., Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has rated almost 200,000 bridges (one-third of all bridges) as .structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. With the ageing condition, adequate monitoring and maintenance become a crucial need. Recent tragic events, such as the Genoa bridge collapse, only highlight this need. The collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy (2018, 43 people killed) has led to a year-long state of emergency in the Liguria region, extensive analysis of the structural failure, and widely varying disputes of liability, including a dispute between Italy and the EU. In the last two decades, almost 20 other bridges in different European countries (Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Ireland, UK, Greece, Romania) have collapsed or severely damaged with nearly 120 casualties and many injuries. Outside Europe, in the U.S. almost 30 transport bridges have collapsed with nearly 50 deaths and many injuries. The major cause of these disasters is structural failure. The need for robust standardisation is generally acknowledged by public authorities and industrial stakeholders. However, developing new European standards based on national state-of-the-art is not viable as there are only a few existing national standards in this field, and their coverage and technical depth are lacking. Getting a broad acceptance for the new standards will also be difficult, especially if changes in the existing procedures and agreements on monitoring and maintenance are implied. These may lead to discussions regarding responsibilities, liabilities and accountabilities among the policy-makers, public clients, design and engineering consultants, and construction firms – all of them are the key stakeholders in the currently fragmented value-chain in construction.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2020-08-15 - 2022-08-14

The project aims to gain new insights into verified and validated structural-mechanical models and prediction models for sustainable composite structures. The research questions will be addressed in a generally valid and reproducible way by applying scientific methods such as statistical analysis. The research task comprises: (a) Provision of a life cycle and safety concept/strength verification for a composite wood-sandwich construction, (b) Analysis of the stress situation of the cross-section of a composite wood-sandwich construction on stress level by means of an FE-approach (linear and non-linear) analysis of the longitudinal and the transverse strength, (c) Development of a safety concept on stress level for the evaluation of the construction. of the model laws, (d) reconciliation of the results and possibly required recalibration of the dimensions or recalibration of the safety concept, (e)preparation of a scientific proof/research report. Translated with (free version)

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