Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TRUSS Report Summary

Project ID: 642453
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TRUSS (Training in Reducing Uncertainty in Structural Safety)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Buildings, energy and transport infrastructure are key elements for supporting society in their day-to-day activities. The infrastructure network is ageing and deteriorating rapidly under an increasing demand in operational and environmental loads. While an efficient infrastructure network provides economic and social benefits, infrastructure failure in terms of capacity or reliability can involve economic costs and lower quality of life. For infrastructure to remain effective and structurally safe, a management strategy that guarantees proper maintenance and best use of the resources available is needed. However, this is a complex task due to uncertainties associated to the structural capacity and to the demand on a structure. Therefore, the main objectives of TRUSS ITN are twofold:
(1) To develop reliable monitoring systems and structural, material and loading models to be achieved through research that will contribute to: (a) more efficient infrastructure design, assessment, monitoring and management, (b) maintain current infrastructure stock in operation while minimizing risks, and (c) reduce infrastructure costs and demand for non-renewable and carbon intensive resources while maintaining or improving safety levels.
(2) To offer a high-quality intersectoral and multidisciplinary training in structural safety to a new generation of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) through network-wide and local activities. The training programme combines taught modules with original research supported by secondments, which allows ESRs gaining experience and enhancing their career prospects in both industrial and academic sectors.

In order to meet these objectives, 14 ESRs have been recruited to carry out research in different individual projects. While moving forward the state of the art, TRUSS prepares ESRs for dealing with the challenges faced at the assessment and management stages of large scale structures.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

TRUSS is structured into five Work Packages: WP1 on Management, WP2 on Dissemination and Outreach, WP3 on Structured Training, and two Research WPs on buildings, energy, marine (WP4), rail and road (WP5) infrastructures.

WP2: ESRs have published 2 technical papers in peer reviewed journals and 23 conference papers (16 of them including both academic and industrial authors). The website has 135 pages viewed 66,922 times by 13,276 users. Social media (TRUSS profiles in Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and ResearchGate) and blogs (Blogger) have been used to bring awareness on the importance of this research to support a community, region or country. TRUSS has participated in activities in High and Junior Schools, and in research exhibitions and Open Days at Universities to motivate School and University students to pursue an engineering career. Furthermore, TRUSS researchers have been featured in press releases in mainstream newspapers, magazines and television.

WP3: ESRs have practised their communication skills, and received academic and industrial training and feedback at network-wide meetings held approximately every 6 months. TRUSS has run a training week in Nottingham (30/11/15-04/12/15), a plenary meeting in Santander (16-17/06/16), and a training week in Barcelona (16-20/01/17). ESRs have received on-the-job training from the local research group at their host, and at the institution/s where they are seconded. A range of advanced research methods, project management, language courses, transferable skills and communication modules have also been made available to the ESR locally.

WP4: Through a combination of laboratory work and numerical modelling, ESR1 has shown that the geometric design plays a significant role on the reliability of concrete structures reinforced with braided FRP. ESR2 has used common non-destructive testing methods to assess concrete strength, and found large variability and influence of scale effects. Instead, a new approach based on the installation of a screw anchor in the concrete is being evaluated. ESR3 has identified seven sources of uncertainty in the response of free standing nuclear spent fuel racks. He is currently working to provide error estimates via a probabilistic analysis. ESR4 has carried out an analysis of uni-variate significant wave heights. Kriging models have been proposed for analysing the towers of wind turbines. Fatigue plays a critical role in service life assessment of marine structures. ESR5 has shown how the interval for the first inspection of ageing marine structures can be extended if crack initiation life was considered. ESR6 has used field data to reduce the uncertainty associated to dynamic loads used for assessment of ship unloaders.

WP5: ESR7 has tested the sensitivity of rotation to damage when a bridge is traversed by a moving load, both numerically and experimentally. The effect of localized damage on the global bridge safety has been assessed by ESR8 via Bayesian updating. ESR9 has computed displacements using a finite element model to demonstrate the ability of a Bayesian Belief Network to predict the health state of a bridge. ESR10 has shown that vibration intensity in the form of vibrars exhibit considerable damage sensitivity when tested under ambient excitation. Experiments carried out by ESR11 have tested the possible spatial resolution, strain accuracy and long-term reliability of measurements performed with optical fibre distributed sensing for structural health monitoring of bridges and large scale structures. ESR12 has investigated the feasibility of employing sensors mounted on an instrumented vehicle to detect damage while traversing a bridge. Numerical simulations have shown that a vehicle can detect a change in the curvature response when the bridge is damaged in a noise-free environment. ESR13 is also using truck sensors, but for road pavement performance investigation, when a Big Data approach has concluded that the impact of

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The individual projects in TRUSS are quite diverse. Nonetheless, the need to overcome uncertainty in material, load and structural performance represents a core thread that ties the projects together. This has led to interactions between researchers, and to generate innovations that forms the basis of their PhD research. With the help of innovative health monitoring, damage detection, structural simulations and tests, use of new materials and probabilistic assessments altogether, TRUSS will have an impact on: (a) economic activities, by facilitating an early exploitation of research results and avoiding unnecessary repair works via optimization of structures in terms of their entire life-cycle; (b) sustainability, by reducing waste materials during construction and rehabilitation works and by utilizing innovative and environment-friendly inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation methodologies; (c) social terms, i.e., by avoiding road closures in the case of bridge repairs or failure that will lead to longer travel times and increase costs in many economic sectors, and (d) education, science and technology, by connecting research and its real application via experiences such as the academia-industry partnerships existing in every individual project.

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