Lusófona wins European project EEA Grant
Lusófona collaborates with Portugal Infrastructures and the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering
Our society relies on civil infrastructure for their economic and social life, where bridges play an important role in the mobility of people and goods. Bridges age naturally, but their structural deterioration can be accelerated by external phenomena. The structural health monitoring (SHM) technology has been used to support the authorities to find optimal life-cycle management strategies on a damage-identification basis and, ultimately, to avoid structural failures. Meanwhile, we are facing a climate change which may have multidimensional adverse impacts on the operational performance, longevity and safety of existing bridges, which are particularly vulnerable to climate stressors such as higher temperatures, increased evaporation, precipitation or flooding.
The research group at ULHT has been involved in SHM research for the last 15 years, using machine learning algorithms borrowed from the Artificial Intelligence field on data sets from monitoring systems and finite element models. However, the impact of climate change on the bridge condition has not been pursued by the Portuguese group. On the other hand, the research group at OsloMet has been actively pursuing a more active role on SHM to support the Norwegian authorities to avoid bridge failures on the advent of a new highway and railway construction boom. Meanwhile, the Norwegian group has already started to investigate climate adaptation measures in order to tackle the effects of climate change and its impacts on buildings and structures in the context of the HYPERION project. The project¿s vision is to develop a comprehensive and holistic tool to assess the threats of climate change in tandem with other natural hazards to cultural heritage sites.
Therefore, in collaboration with Infraestruturas de Portugal and the Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, the objectives of this proposal are:
- To develop a systematic framework for the probabilistic assessment of the impact of climate change on the structural health of existing bridges, by coupling climate risk evaluation and health monitoring techniques. Basically, we intend to integrate existing procedures for the assessment of climate threats into the SHM procedures of bridges leading to a probabilistic SHM framework. This is a unique study in the scientific community;
- To present the latest technological updates on the SHM of bridges and special structures (like offshore structures and tunnels) to the scientific community and technical staff of consultancy companies and public entities;
- To promote technological advances and business initiatives around the life-cycle management of bridges, in both countries.