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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R039178/1
Title: SPINE: Resilience-Based Design of Biologically Inspired Columns for Next-Generation Accelerated Bridge Construction
Principal Investigator: Kashani, Dr MM
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Fiberline Holding ApS Jacobs UK Limited University of Bristol
Department: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2018 Ends: 29 April 2022 Value (£): 242,456
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Technical Consultancy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
A resilience-based design approach plays an important role in the design of new bridges and other structures. The structural elements of bridges are often directly exposed to the environment without any protection. Even though life-cycle and sustainability criteria have been incorporated in new design guidelines, there is still no design and construction technique that can fully address the future demands of a resilient and sustainable transport infrastructure.

The aim of this research is to produce innovative and transformative engineering solutions for a durable, low-maintenance, low-cost, and demountable accelerated bridge construction technique, which is resilient to environmental threats, and natural hazards. The solutions will include a completely new resilience-based bridge design approach and biologically inspired composite columns for next-generation accelerated bridge construction.

Towards this goal, this research will construct an innovative composite bridge column, which is inspired by the mechanics of the human spine. In the human spine, intervertebral discs provide flexibility, dissipate energy from the movements of the human body, and absorb and transmit forces without damaging the vertebrae bones. The proposed spinal bridge column will be constructed using precast composite segments (the 'vertebrae'). A new smart composite material will be developed and used in between of these solid composite segments (the 'intervertebral discs'). This will keep the vertebrae from rubbing against each other, transfer the shear forces through friction, absorb the impact due to the rocking of vertebrae, and provide mechanical damping under dynamic loading. Finally, the vertebrae and intervertebral discs will be tied together using an unbonded composite post-tensioning tendon (the 'longitudinal ligament'), to provide self-centring mechanism in the column when subjected to lateral force.

In this 24 moths research, the underlying science of the new spinal column will be investigated through experimental testing and numerical modelling. During the entire duration of the project a series of review meetings, short visits to academics as well as industry partners, and an international workshop will be organised. This interaction is deemed vital for the co-development of new concepts, the transfer of know-how and the resilient and sustainable accelerated bridge construction.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk