Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - MAGIC (Monitoring systems to Assess Geotechnical Infrastructure subjected to Climatic hazards)

1 January 2013 – 31 December 2016

European Commission - FP7
Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP)


MAGIC objectives
The aim of MAGIC is to develop novel systems to monitor earth structures exposed to climatic hazard. It involves three universities, University of Strathclyde (UK), Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour (France), and Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) and four SMEs, G IMPULS Praha (Czech Republic), UMS GmbH (Germany), Tecnopenta s.r.l. (Italy) and PESSL Instruments GmbH (Austria). The technological and scientific project will be implemented via secondments and recruitment of 182 researcher months in total including 72 months of recruitment and 110 months of secondment (51 months from Industry to Academia and 59 months from Academia to Industry).
One of the major focus of the project will be the development and concept demonstration of two instruments for field measurement of pore-water tension (suction) up to 1.5 MPa, namely a high-capacity tensiometer for long-term measurement at shallow depths (<2m) and a tensiocone for rapid measurement of suction profile at greater depths (up to 20m). These developments are based on research prototypes developed by the academic partners in MAGIC. MAGIC will also develop techniques for high-resolution imaging of water content based on Electrical Resistivity Tomography and will tackle the problem of real-time data quality control (based on the concepts of measurement redundancy and coherence) to identify faulty data due to instrument malfunctioning and/or mis-installation. Finally, to validate and demonstrate the monitoring systems incorporating the new instruments developed by the project, MAGIC will setup benchmark instrumented field sites in the Netherlands, Scotland, and France.

Work performed since the beginning of the project
The work so far has focused on the development of instruments and techniques for the monitoring of the moisture regime, including the negative pore-water pressure (WP1 and WP2) and the moisture content (WP3), and the development of algorithms for automated data quality control (WP4). These will be the major components of the monitoring systems the will be implemented and validated in the field in the second part of the project. Secondments have served to transfer scientific state-of-the-art know-how from Academia to Industry and, at the same time, to allow Academic partners to better appreciate the technological challenges behind commercial products and services.

Main results achieved so far
Prototypes of instruments for negative pore-water pressure, a high-capacity tensiometer for shallow measurements and a tensiocone for deep measurement, have been designed, constructed, and successfully tested in the laboratory. The development of these prototypes was accompanied by the development of procedures for saturation of the porous filter, which were simplified significantly with respect to the procedures currently adopted in the scientific literature. Concerning the mapping of the water content using geophysical techniques, different soil types have been tested in the laboratory to develop water content-electrical resistivity calibration curves based on easy-to-determine soil index properties. Moreover, based on multiple geophysical measurements, we have demonstrated the potential of Electromagnetic Induction (EM) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for real-time monitoring of flood embankments in flood emergency situations. Finally, we have developed procedures for automated detection of field capacitance from monitoring data, which is the first step in the development of an algorithm for automated detection of instrument malfunctioning.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use
MAGIC effort is expected to eventually result in new commercial instruments and data management systems in turn expected to lead to major improvement in design, maintenance, and adaptation of geotechnical infrastructure subjected to climatic hazard.
Monitoring the soil moisture regime is of crucial importance to assess and predict the performance of geo-structures. For example, pore-water pressure and water content are indicators of potential instabilities of shallow landslides triggered by rainfall infiltration. These landslides cause significant human and material losses as they often evolve into highly destructive debris-flows or mudflows. Rainfall-triggered mudflows in Campania region (Italy) in 1999 caused 160 fatalities and damages to houses and productive installations for €34 million, and rainfall-triggered landslides in San Miguel Island (Portugal) in 1997 caused 29 fatalities and material losses for €21 million.
An understanding of flow regime in the vadose zone underpinned by the monitoring of the soil moisture regime is also key to designing suitable mitigation measures against foundation subsidence. Over the past two decades, ground subsidence has caused substantial damages to infrastructure all over Europe and a substantial drop in residential capital values in several locations. For example, the economic damage caused by the summer 2003 drought in France has been estimated to €1 billion.

Contact details
Project Coordinator: Professor Alessandro Tarantino, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
Assistant Project Coordinator: Ms Katharine Houston, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK


Alessandro Tarantino, (Professor)
Tel.: +44 141 5483539
Fax: +44 1415532066


Life Sciences
Record Number: 199466 / Last updated on: 2017-06-21
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