Areas of Research

The four pivotal areas that will be the focus of the research performed under IRISE are: knowledge, decision making, material durability and structural repair. Each of these areas must be advanced from both an individual component (i.e., pavements and bridges) and overall infrastructure system perspective. These four areas include identifying and gathering the information critical to the decision making process; accurately assessing the condition of the infrastructure system through an integrated system analysis of the data collected for each individual component, as well as an analysis of the user costs and benefits associated with deteriorating infrastructure and rehabilitation projects; and identifying innovative construction materials and design and construction methods that will produce a more viable infrastructure system. A description of the type of research that will be addressed under each of these areas is described below:

Collection of Knowledge

Current asset management systems used for documenting system conditions will be enhanced by developing methods to monitor system and component conditions in real time. In particular, these methods will measure the physical state of the system and the demand/load on the system as a function of time.

Decision Making

This research will reinvent the definition of service life for infrastructure to consider the needs of the system as a function of the components within the system. In order to meet this goal, the current analysis methods for materials, design components and construction methods will be reconsidered based upon not only the performance of the component, but also the system conditions data being monitored. This will include methodologies for prioritizing rehabilitation projects based on an analysis of the system and user life cycle cost and benefits as part of the planning process.

Material Durability

Material durability is essential to maintaining infrastructure life. More durable construction materials that are cost effective and sustainable will be identified and developed. Research in the area of material durability will include topics such as corrosion, the durability of materials used in construction, mitigating durability issues attacking in-service structures and developing non-invasive, sensor-based techniques for quantifying the rate of deterioration and predicting remaining life.

Structural Repair

New tools and construction processes needed by public agencies, designers and constructors of systems and components will be developed and tested in both laboratory and test bed settings. Examples are maintenance methods that serve to extend the life by deterring water level/scour and temperature extreme impacts, rehabilitation or reconstruction methods for highways and bridges that improve the resiliency of components, systems to collect data and continuously monitor resiliency measures of components and systems.