The FRAMAB project aims to develop novel modelling strategies for masonry arch bridges and a comprehensive framework for the flood risk evaluation for these heritage structures. Although masonry arch bridges are very vulnerable to flood effects, no accurate procedures have been proposed thus far to systematically assess the risk of their damage and failure due to flood hazard. The procedures to be implemented into a flood risk assessment framework should combine a realistic description of the hazard (probability of exceeding a given flood discharge) with an accurate assessment of the structural vulnerability (probability of exceeding a given damage level in the bridge components for a flood with a given intensity). The development of such a risk assessment framework, which is the main objective of this research, requires a strong multi-disciplinary approach and will entail i) the advancement of computational tools for the response prediction of masonry bridges subjected to flood-induced actions and ii) the accurate propagation of uncertainties inherent in the loading, the problem parameters and the simulation models. In particular with reference to the first point, innovative nonlinear analysis capabilities for masonry arch bridges under flood effects will be implemented within the computational framework already available at Imperial College. This will allow an accurate yet computationally efficient prediction of the most critical flood-induced actions (e.g. flow pressure, floating debris impact, scouring). With reference to the second point, advanced probabilistic techniques will be developed to enable the prediction of the effects of the relevant sources of uncertainty on the bridge vulnerability. The project outcomes will contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage and to the development of innovative solutions for reducing the flood risk of infrastructural systems by promoting the unbiased allocation of the economic resources for flood risk mitigation.
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