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Gabriel Sas, professor in Structural Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Richard Renberg
Gabriel Sas, professor and holder of chair in Structural Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Richard Renberg View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Newly cast bridge ready to be crushed

Published: 14 March 2022

In a world-unique research project, a new complete railway bridge is being built, and then load tested to the breaking point. The newly cast concrete will be supplemented with rails for maximum imitation of a railway bridge in operation.

"After these tests, we will know exactly what load capacity this bridge model has and this is desirable knowledge, not least for our ore transports here in Sweden," says Gabriel Sas, professor in Structural Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.

Previously, the research group in structural engineering at the university has investigated older bridges to gain knowledge about service life and load capacity over time. With this research on the properties of a newly built bridge structure, the state of knowledge is further sharpened.

"It is important from both environmental and economic aspects that we do not tear down and build new unnecessarily," says Gabriel Sas.

809 bridges of this type are owned by Trafikverket, which represent 20% of the total of the railway bridge population.

The average age of this bridge population is about 55 years, which means many of them require more and more maintenance.

"This test will give us an accurate picture of the load capacity of this type of bridge under controlled conditions, which is very valuable knowledge. Then we can calculate with greater certainty how much more we can increase the load on, for example, LKAB's ore transports", says Ibrahim Coric, head of maintenance on railway systems in the technical areas of construction and bankruptcy at the Swedish Transport Administration.

Luleå University of Technology's research on bridges often creates an international interest as most countries have similar issues concerning aging infrastructure.

The test will be carried out at the MCE lab at Luleå University of Technology during June or August 2022.

Gabriel Sas

Gabriel Sas, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 493835
Organisation: Structural Engineering, Structural and Fire Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Jaime Gonzalez

Jaime Gonzalez, Postdoctoral position

Phone: +46 (0)920 492970
Organisation: Structural Engineering, Structural and Fire Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering