Friday, 3 June 2016

An update of the project!!!!!


It has been a long time since the last post.... I'm sorry for that, but all my energy has been captured by the project. Indeed, during these months, I have worked hard to the development of the PhD. 

Anyway, hold on! Do you remember my project? You do, I guess. However, you can find the description in my first post (First Post) or in the TRUSS website (Project description ).

I'd like to share with you the main steps that have been achieved:

1. After a long literature review process, which has been finished with an exhaustive report. At this moment, I'm writing a research article, which will be hopefully published in an international journal.

2. I have developed a Finite Element model of a railway bridge. A steel truss bridge has been selected as model thanks to the precious advices of bridge and structural engineers. You can see an example of a truss bridge in the bottom attached picture.

Steel truss bridge

Furthermore, you can see the model that I have carefully developed in the picture below.

The finite element model of the truss bridge that I have developed.

they look pretty similar, isn't it?

3. The analysis of the finite element model has been carried out in order to understand how the health state of the bridge is influenced by the degradation mechanisms, which are continuously acting on the bridge due to environmental effects, such as rain, wind, etc., and the passing-over trains. The results of the analysis, which I cannot show here due to a copyright limitation (such a big word...), show that the degradation mechanism has to be monitored as much as possible. 

4. A Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) has been then developed in order to automatically analysed the behaviour of the bridge and to assess the health state of the bridge. Especially, the BBN that I have developed is able to determine which components of the bridge has to be firstly maintained. it's cool, right? 

I have a question? Do you know what a BBN is? No worries, I'll write a post to explain in an easy way what a BBN is!!!  In the mean time, just to have an idea, you can watch the example below for a Masonry bridge. As you can see, each component of the bridge is represented using a circle and the physical and mathematical relationships among different components are represented by a arrow. It's quite intuitive. 

Example of  BBN describing a masonry bridge

5. The collaboration with our industrial partner has been demonstrated to be more difficult that our beliefs. Therefore, thanks to the collaboration of my amazing supervisors, I had the opportunity to explain my project to the most important railway company of the UK, Network Rail. I held two presentations with them: the former during March in their amazing offices at Milton Keynes (which is a small city close to London) in order to show the aims and objectives of the PhD and to describe a possible collaboration way; The latter, which has been held at the University of Nottingham at the end of April, has shown the first results of the project. Thanks to this second presentation and to the good results of the project, I'm speaking with Network Rail to find an official way to work together!!!! 

I hope you appreciate the progresses of the projects and, please, if you have any question or curiosity, please free to contact me, you can find my details in my webpage (matteo-vagnoli).

I'm sure we are going to meet again soon with the BBN post and new amazing post on my project and adventure.