Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New ideas to preserve old buildings

A new handbook to promote structure integrity in older buildings, coupled with a novel self-monitoring strengthening textile, will help maintain and safeguard our cities' architectural heritage.
New ideas to preserve old buildings
The urban landscape across Europe is rapidly changing, fuelled by a myriad of factors such as gentrification of industrial sites, natural disasters and new infrastructure projects. This has a direct consequence on historical buildings that are not always maintained or reinforced in the best possible manner.

Against this backdrop, the EU-funded INSYSM (Intelligent systems for structures strengthening and monitoring) project aimed to tackle the reinforcement of buildings by combining strengthening activities with sustained monitoring. It aimed to achieve this by creating a handbook for engineers and architects on retrofitting, reinforcement and monitoring of buildings, working also to develop a self-monitoring smart textile for structural strengthening.

To achieve its aims, the project integrated a toolbox on procedures for retrofitting, strengthening, real-time monitoring and maintenance of structures in its handbook. It paid particular attention to buildings that have complex load situations, for example those affected by earthquakes, mining activity, flooding or transport infrastructure.

The handbook outlines novel techniques relating to structural upgrades featuring fibre-reinforced materials. It describes reasons behind structural damage, as well as material properties, design methodology, structural design procedures and relevant examples. Technological procedures for strengthening applications with examples are also included, as are tips, requirements and control methods.

In order to produce the textile for structural strengthening, the project team tested various types of structural elements such as masonry, timber and concrete. It considered different variables such as temperature, humidity, Wi-Fi transfer of data through the new material and even energy harvesting. This led to registering the first patent for the prototype of a smart strengthening and sensing textile.

In effect, the technology enables very cost-effective monitoring of existing structures, including large ones such as bridges. The results of this project are outlined on its website along with relevant material, and the INSYSM handbook is available for download on the site. This technology could prove very useful for promoting structural integrity of buildings and preserving our common heritage.

Related information

Keywords

Buildings, strengthening textile, architectural heritage, intelligent systems, structural strengthening
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