A bridge which indicates when maintenance or replacement is required: “Structural Health Monitoring”. The bridge’s material behavior is now continuously monitored. A smart sensor system evaluates the signals and generates an alert when it detects critical levels of material degradation. Timely maintenance / replacement of components can be carried out in this way.
Construction is still hesitant
The use of materials in construction must change. However, alternative efficient material solutions from natural renewable sources are still insufficiently reliable for use in Infrastructure. In the Netherlands, for example, municipalities manage more than 12,000 pedestrian and bicycle bridges. Of these, 41% are in a moderate to very bad condition. With 0.5% replacement per year, this already equates to 95,000 tons of fossil resource use per year. The European Bio-Economy Strategy action plan emphasizes the necessary shift towards the use of natural materials. Despite growing market demand, the construction industry remains reluctant to use new materials. The reason for this is the uncertainty in time-dependent material properties: degradation and aging. Safe use during its lifetime cannot be guaranteed.
Smart Circular Bridge
Modern sensor technology with smart computer algorithms makes it possible to equip components with sensors and to monitor their material behavior: “Structural Health Monitoring”. Material behavior is now continuously monitored. Signals are received and viewed with a smart sensor system. When these indicate that material degradation is reaching critical levels, an alert is sent for maintenance / replacement. In Smart Circular Bridge, the uncertain aspects of material aging are compensated by the Structural Health Monitoring system. This guarantees structural safety.
Smart Circular Bridge will build 2 demo bridges (NL + DE) and realize 1 definitive bridge (NL) in the NWE region (Germany).
Within the project, the Center of Expertise Biobased Economy at Avans takes on a number of tasks, such as:
- Performing environmental Life Cycle Assessments of the composite materials used, including the application of molecular recycling.
- We are also involved in the molecular recycling of thermoset biocomposite materials from flax and bioresin.
- Investigating the reuse of the recovered components in new composite parts such as sound panels
- Participate in biomaterial selection
- Aging tests in a climate chamber
- Setting up a an online educational course (MOOC) containing the project results