Observing bridges from space

Observing bridges from space

Many will still have the dramatic images of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa that collapsed in 2018 clearly in their minds. There are countless other bridges in Europe that are in poor condition. Many are already more than fifty years old and need extra close monitoring. This can be done by installing sensors on site that register deflections and cracks. But you can also use satellites with radar systems to look at the structures. That’s what dr. Giorgia Giardina (Civil Engineering and Geosciences) is going to do. To develop the radar technology monitoring system, she received a Vidi grant of 800 thousand euros from research funder NWO.

“With radar we can measure displacements. We can see whether bridges are expanding or contracting and what the immediate environment is doing. Does the soil subside, or does it actually rise? If the movements don’t follow the same path along the entire length of the bridge, the structure could be at risk.” In the Netherlands alone, there are a thousand bridges that need extra attention because of their age.

Giardina also zooms in on Amsterdam with her research. The capital has 200 kilometers of quay walls and numerous bridges that are in a bad shape.

Editor Tomas van Dijk

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