Eugen Brühwiler

Professor, Dr Structural Engineer, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

Getting More Out of Existing Bridges
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Friday, February 17, 2017 – 4:30 pm

Location: Whitaker Lab 303, Lehigh University,5 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA

Eugen Brühwiler, Professor, Dr Structural Engineer, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Swizterland: Eugen Brühwiler is a Professor of structural engineering and Director of the Laboratory of Maintenance and Safety of existing Structures at the EPFL since 1995. He received his civil engineering and doctoral degrees from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich in 1983 and Lausanne in 1988. His teaching and research activities include modern methods of examination in structural engineering including structural and fatigue safety, monitoring and reliability of bridges and buildings as well as the use of Ultra-High Performance Fiber Reinforced Cement-based Composites (UHPFRC) for the rehabilitation and strengthening of structures. As an expert for the Swiss Government, he is involved in the examination and restoration of bridges and buildings of high cultural value.

Getting More Out of Existing Bridges. Novel structural engineering methods and technologies are urgently needed to improve the performance of existing structures, such as bridges, and to avoid the “infrastructure collapse”. Limited funding and ever increasing user demands challenge current technologies which are often invasive and not cost-effective. The objective of this lecture is to demonstrate how novel engineering methods and technologies can be implemented in structural engineering with the goal to provide a next service duration to existing bridges.

The lecture will be illustrated by application cases including several bridges of high aesthetic and cultural value. History of structures will be highlighted as a basic engineering discipline necessary to develop soft improvement interventions respecting both cultural values and safety requirements.   

At first, the basic approach consists in an accurate determination of in-situ structural behaviour for the structural and fatigue safety verification of bridges using data from in-situ long term structural monitoring of actual traffic action effects. If interventions are necessary, a targeted use of advanced high-performance materials is suggested to improve effectively structural behaviour and resistance. A novel technology is presented to improve bridges using Ultra-High Performance Fibre Reinforced Cement-based Composites (UHPFRC), a technology that is successfully applied in Switzerland for more than 10 years.
The ultimate goal of this novel structural engineering methodology is to limit construction intervention to a strict minimum while providing a next, long and safe service duration for existing bridges with limited maintenance need. This methodology matches well with principles of sustainability.

The Dendrite and Graphite of a Grey Cast Iron Structure