Improved calculation methods to determine the health of bridges

(10-08-2022) Eline Vereecken investigates how numerical calculations can be used to better estimate the health of bridges.

In Flanders, more than 60% of the existing bridge patrimony was built before 1981 and more than 25% even before 1945, which means that a considerable budget is spent on the maintenance and repair of these structures.

Therefore, engineers are developing improved tools to make rational decisions on how to optimally spend the available budgets. In particular, more accurate calculation methods are being developed that allow the remaining lifespan of existing structures to be estimated.

There is a need for a methodology to estimate the reliability of existing (sometimes corroded) concrete structures, taking into account information from inspections and monitoring.

"In my dissertation, I have shown how based on (a combination of) different types of measurement data and visual observations, the degradation state of an existing concrete structure can be estimated," says Eline.

"A better estimation of this degradation state also leads to a better assessment of the structural safety and the remaining lifetime, which are also quantified," she continues.

"Furthermore, I have developed a calculation method to optimize strategies for monitoring (existing) structures, taking into account the costs over the entire service life of the structure. In this way, the available budgets can be used in the best possible way," she concludes.

Read a more detailed summary or the entire PhD


PhD Title: Applied Bayesian Pre-Posterior and Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Determining and Optimizing the Value of Structural Health Monitoring for Concrete Structures


Contact: Eline Vereecken, Robby Caspeele, Wouter Botte

Eline Vereecken

Eline Vereecken, born in Sint-Niklaas on 30 December 1995, obtained in 2018 the degree of Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Ghent University with highest distinction.

Since September 2018, Eline worked as a PhD fellow at the Magnel-Vandepitte Laboratory for Structural Engineering and Building Materials at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at Ghent University and at Structural Mechanics section at the Faculty of Engineering at KU Leuven. There she worked on this thesis until today.

In addition, Eline supervised and assessed 1 student in the development of his master's thesis and took care of exercise sessions for, among others, the courses 'Calculation of engineering structures II' and 'Load-bearing systems in architectural design' at the University of Ghent and 'Strength of materials 1' at the KU Leuven.

Furthermore, Eline was also responsible for scientific services concerning tests at the Laboratorium Magnel-Vandepitte. Eline is author and co-author of 8 a1-publications in international peer-reviewed journals and of 12 publications in proceedings of international conferences.


Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke