Monday, 18 January 2016

Introduction to TRUSS ITN Project 9: Railway bridge condition monitoring and fault diagnostics

Hello guys and welcome to my TRUSS ITN blog!

I hope you are fine and you are going to enjoy this breath-taking blog (I'm kidding...).

Firstly, it could be useful a brief introduction to me and to TRUSS ITN. 

I'm Matteo Vagnoli and I'm 26 (almost 27) years old...and that's it! Are you very interested in knowing my background and previous work experiences? So, briefly, I was born in Bibbiena, a small shining village in Casentino, in Tuscany... yes, Tuscany, the region of poetical landscapes, fabulous farmer's kitchen, Florence, Pisa tower, wineries where you can taste blockbuster wines...

Bibbiena landscape

I studied Energy engineering during my bachelor degree at Politecnico di Milano and, then, I gained a master degree in Nuclear engineering from Politecnico di Milano as well. After graduating in my MSc, I worked as research fellow and teaching assistant in collaboration with the Laboratory of Signal and Risk Analysis (LASAR) in Milan, where I wrote four research papers to be published in international journals, and one conference paper (which has been presented during ESREL conference in Zurich on the 8th of September 2015), and I have participated to international projects.    
I'm betting that you are getting bored to hear about me and, thus, if you are really interested in what I have done and what I studied or researched, please, don't hesitate to visit my LinkedIn profile.

Anyway, my interest in reliability, availability, safety, the on-line monitoring of signals and mathematical and statistical methods for preventive and predictive maintenance has been growing ever since I began my master thesis. Working with international experts in the field has allowed me to appreciate the development of procedures and methods for ensuring these aspects in all fields. I consider these as qualities of paramount importance for the health of industrial systems, which are fundamental for our contemporary society. 
For these reasons, when I have found the position for the TRUSS ITN on European commission website, under the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie scheme, I enthusiastically applied. 

The TRUSS (Training in Reducing Uncertainty in Structural Safety) is a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) project funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 Programme. It is a inter-sectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration between 4 university, 11 industry and 1 research institute from 5 European countries (Ireland, UK, France, Spain and Denmark) and it's funding 14 different structural safety related projects.

My project is "ESR9: Railway bridge condition monitoring and fault diagnostics", which aims to develop a mathematical model by which fault detection and diagnostic process can be established for railway bridges. Indeed, the health state of railway bridge structures is actually determined by visual inspection carried out at fixed intervals of time (from 1 to 6 years). When deterioration process is observed at a degree which requires attention, the maintenance work is scheduled for action. However, visual inspection examines the structure superficially and intermittently and, some type of faults might not be detected in an adequate manner (for example, truss bridge structures experience unavoidable micro-cracks faults, which are created during the welding operation, which may not be recognizable by visual inspection). Finally, the visual analysis needs to be interpreted by an expert, who can be subjective and, thus, the reliability of the visual inspections can be significantly variable in the structural condition assessments. 
In my project, which is carried out under the supervision of Prof. John Andrews and Rasa Remenyte-Prescott from the University of Nottingham, and with the external supervision of Prof. Casas from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, and with the collaboration of AECOM, we are going to use remote sensor data, which monitor the health state of the railway bridge, in order to develop innovative fault detection methods to automatically, remotely and rapidly assess the health state of the bridge, without sending inspection crews to the site. 

Flowchart of the project

The project started in September 2015 and it will be finished within the September 2018. 
During the first 4 months, I worked on the literature review process and the first results of my research have been presented during the first TRUSS training week in Nottingham on the 3rd of December 2015.

Presenting the results of literature review to the TRUSS members

That's it for this first post.

See you soon!!

P.S.: I said that in Tuscany you can taste blockbuster wines... well, in UK supermarkets, one of the most valuable Italian wine is.... 

...God save the Queen...