Spanning deep gorges, rivers and freeways, bridges are an indispensable part of the traffic network. Yet their condition in Germany is appalling: In a survey carried out by the German automobile club ADAC in 2007, one in ten bridges out of the fifty that were inspected failed the test; a total of four were rated “poor” and one was even rated “very poor”.
The changing effects of weather and temperature, road salt and the increasing volume of traffic all take their toll on the material – quickly causing damage such as hairline cracks, flaking concrete, and rust penetration. If the bridge engineers fail to recognize these in time, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are endangered.
Until now, inspectors have always examined a bridge for visible damage directly on site. They cover cracks, for instance, with adhesive strips that expand if the crack gets larger. A new image processing program is set to make these inspection measures unnecessary in future. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern have developed this software jointly with fellow scientists from the Italian company Infracom. “The software automatically examines the photos of a bridge for certain characteristics and irregularities, for instance marked discoloration,” explains ITWM scientist Markus Rauhut. “Unlike a human, the tool doesn’t miss any abnormalities – even minor damage is identified and signaled.”
The challenge is that no two bridges are alike. They differ in terms of their shape, construction material and surface structure, while the color depends on the material, the dirt or fouling, and the degree of humidity. The software has to be able to handle these discrepancies. To make this possible, the researchers have extracted metrics from photographs that include the characteristically elongated shape of a hairline crack, the typical discoloration in damp places, and the structures of the material – which are different for a concrete bridge than for a steel bridge.
All of this information is now stored in a database. When the researchers load a photo into the program, the software compares the features of the new image with those of the saved images. If it detects any irregularities, it marks the respective area on the photo. The bridge inspector can now decide how serious the damage is. Does something need to be done? The faster any damage is identified and clearly categorized, the simpler and less expensive it is to repair it. The engineers have been using the new software successfully for the past six months to inspect bridges in Italy.
Markus Rauhut | alfa
Construction Impact Guide
18.05.2018 | Hochschule RheinMain
New, forward-looking report outlines research path to sustainable cities
24.01.2018 | National Science Foundation
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering