APOLODORO: Sensors and technology, key to understanding how bridges behave


This project, funded by the CDTI, seeks to understand how prestressed reinforced concrete bridges with a wide span behave through a combination of sensors and technology, obtaining accurate, real-time information on the behavior and condition of the bridges.

The infrastructures we build are increasingly complex, and therefore, it is essential to have accurate and real-time information on their behavior and conditionMonitoring is a basic tool to understand the structural response of this type of bridges when there are divergences between the design standards and the real value of the forces exerted on the bridge, such as the thermal gradient and the transverse stress distribution. Through sensor-based auscultation, we can understand the stress distribution affecting large span prestressed concrete bridges and thus establish a better distribution and optimization of the prestressing tendons.

Sobre el proyecto

The research has been carried out on site, sensoring the construction of the bridge over the Danube River in the D4R7 project in Bratislava, a unique structure whose project design and construction methodology is intended to set the benchmark for future wide-span bridges.

The instrumentation makes it possible to control the movements of the infrastructure during its execution, constituting a pioneering development project in Europe in bridges of this type (wide decks that are also built in phases: first a central box and then lateral cantilevers) for the optimal design of cantilever bridges, reducing time and costs by 20-30%.

In this research project, the feasibility of a data integration in a BIM platform to facilitate data visualization has also been analyzed. Being focused on real-time monitoring of the behavior of a bridge in the construction (and possibly operation) phase, the objective is to increase the technical knowledge about the real behavior of innovative and audacious infrastructures, optimizing the construction process and improving their final design.

Carlos Bajo, Head of Bridges & Civil Structures Area from Engineering Services, analyses what Apolodoro brings to this field.

What is the most innovative aspect of this project in bridge construction?

The most innovative challenge is the construction of these bridges in phases. First, the central core of the structure is assembled where all the prestressing tendons of the bridge are arranged and in a second phase, the cantilevers are assembled on the 3000m of bridge using special trolleys.

What benefits has the APOLODORO project brought to the construction of the bridge over the Danube in D4R7?

The greatest benefit that has been obtained is the possibility of having a real bridge model, where to apply sensorization and achieve the knowledge of the real behavior in construction and service. The knowledge of the stress behavior in large span bridges will allow us in future projects a better distribution of the prestressing tendons and therefore a better economy in the construction of this type of bridges.

How does having these tools change the way we conceptualize and build this type of infrastructures?

 These tools are, without a doubt, an increasingly necessary tool in the world of bridge and structure construction, as they provide us with real-time information on their behavior. All that remains is for this real-time monitoring to be incorporated into the existing regulations in each country, which currently establish the structural design conditions and allow some of the safety coefficients currently used to be reduced. This will make it possible to build more economical structures, since they will be permanently monitored.


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