Bridge-Visit in Switzerland

Already six months after the beginning of my Ph.D. I am working in the Laboratory of Maintenance and Safety of Structures MCS in l’EPFL with INFRASTAR, the European Marie Curie Project. 
I am working on the safety of bridges to find how we can monitor existing bridges for fatigue problem detection. My work is hard, but it is also funny and cool: I am not staying all the time in front of my computer => we have to visit bridges frequently.

I am switching between the simulation word and the real world of bridges. Oftentimes I spend hours in front of my computer analyzing the data from monitoring, and sometimes I need to visit our lovely bridges to check if the data acquisition system is working well.

Bridges are situated in Switzerland between Lausanne and Bern.

Let us take a look at different bridges that I discovered once during one of our bridge-visit.

The first picture is about preparing a reinforced-concrete deck to receive a thin layer of Ultra-High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) for strengthening.             

The second visit was for this railway bridge to check the monitoring system and to get the load records.  Using strain gages (picture in your right) allows a good understanding of the structural behavior of  bridges. 
Can you imagine that this small gages, once installed in specific positions can give us an idea of how this huge structure is working? 
This arch bridge is made just with concrete, without any reinforcement! Amazing! I am wondering about the magic recipe for such a beautiful and durable concrete.  Besides, it is a very nice design. 

The last visit was for the Chillon Bridge, in Montreux.  
We went inside the bridge girder to get the recoded data from our monitoring system. 
Here is a panoramic view of the Chillon Viaduct                                    


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