What role can measuring and monitoring systems play in establishing whether ageing infrastructural engineering structures are still sufficiently safe and reliable? TNO, in collaboration with stakeholders, develops today's and tomorrow's monitoring systems to answer these questions in the 'Calibration Viaduct' platform.
Many of the structures in our infrastructure are approaching the end of their design service life or have even exceeded it. Both in the Netherlands and elsewhere, we have seen various examples of viaducts that are no longer reliable or whose use has been curtailed. How well have our bridges and viaducts stood the test of time and how rapidly will they deteriorate in the coming years? Embedding sensors in the material, a costly technique, is one way of finding out. But in view of the huge amount of stock that must be examined, this isn't an ideal measuring method. Asset management can become more efficient if it has enough information; modern monitoring techniques provide optimum information. Under the motto 'better safe than sorry!' it's high time the truth of this statement was investigated.
As its starting point, the Calibration Viaduct platform has taken the maintenance of a safe infrastructure, accessible to citizens and trade and industry. To achieve its aim, the platform is using the results of the latest developments in sensor techniques, i.e. adhesive sensors, data communication, data interpretation and asset management techniques. In a demonstration test, a number of innovative and existing sensor principles were combined. Simultaneously, it was possible to test the structure's constructional and dynamic behaviour as well as material behaviour. This sensor function and TNO's knowledge and models of the behaviour of structures make it possible to form relationships and to generate more reliable information for asset management.
The data gained with the adhesive sensors provides reliable information about the safety of the infrastructural object. This is positive and good grounds for a follow-up study of the feasibility of a large-scale application. TNO is cooperating on this with national and international governments that share responsibility for safe and reliable structures.