We have been involved in a very interesting piece of work with Highways England in the UK over the last year which has been looking at ways to improve the management of post-tensioned bridges, particularly with respect to finding and preventing tendon corrosion at an early stage. This has covered, amongst other things, reviews of skills, standards and procedures, assurance practices and available monitoring technologies. However nothing identified to date has the potential to transform the way we detect and measure corrosion in steel structural elements buried in concrete in such a way that we eliminate unpleasant surprises and the need for unplanned and emergency measures.
Highways England is therefore seeking suggestions for new research ideas with the potential to transform the way we detect and measure corrosion in steel structural elements buried in concrete. The aim is to make this a reliable and automated process such that data on corrosion of all buried steel elements in a bridge can be captured, stored and used to facilitate timely maintenance decisions. The intention therefore is to surface fresh ideas that are likely to necessitate new lines of research, rather than looking for incremental improvements to existing techniques. There is potential, although not guaranteed, for direct funding from Highways England for ideas with great promise, or at least strong backing from them when approaching other funding agencies.
The call is not limited to UK institutions, and technologies from outside of traditional engineering circles would be most welcome if applicable and transferrable.
If you are interested – or are aware of individuals that might – please have a look at the call for research ideas and give me a call Chris Mundell on +44 1454 662074 or +44 7823 537058 or respond directly using the online form within the document.