Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Expert systems for concrete structure assessment

Optimal strategies for inspection, maintenance and repair of prestressed concrete bridges and other structures were defined.

Two prototype computer codes were prepared:
BRIDGE1 deals with the strategies for inspection, relating the observed defects of concrete and/or steel reinforcement with inspecting techniques and with the probable causes;
BRIDGE2 is a sophisticated code that executes the reliability assessment. This takes into account the selection of the more appropriate repair technique, economic data on repair and maintenance, economic impact on traffic, structural safety and specific data on the bridge being analysed. As result the program calculates the reliability index and defines an inspecting plan.

The programs use optimization, expert system, reliability and structural analysis methods to relate the several databases involved. Although the 2 codes were prepared for concrete bridges, BRIDGE1 has wide applicability and brings helpful guidance in the observation of any concrete structure. This, in particular, stands for consulting activity on maintenance of buildings and other types of constructions. BRIDGE2 is mainly addressed to the owners of bridges, but the methodology that is used is general and can be adapted to solve reliability assessment of problems of a different nature.

BRIDGE1 is close to be marketable and has economic potential due to its wide applicability in guidance of the maintenance of concrete structures. A lot of consulting civil engineering companies as well as local authorities may be interested in this code. Some construction companies and manufacturers of repairing materials may also be interested. BRIDGE2 has a restricted field of application but on the other hand has the ability of solving a very difficult problem of high social and economic relevance.