More efficient and resilient infrastructure

Increasing the efficiency and resilience of infrastructure entails facing new scientific challenges linked to adapting to climate change and responding to the energy, environmental and digital transitions.

Following on from the previous COP, this second theme aims to provide effective solutions to the maintenance, reliability and durability problems posed by ageing infrastructure. For example, the award of the CEREMA prize for the "Clerval VIPP (independent-span post-tensioned prestressed beam)" project is an acknowledgement of the quality of IFSTTAR's work in the analysis and certification of a repair method for a common type of structure whose ageing is a critical problem on the national road and motorway network. At the end of 2017, the completion of several theses on the durability of traditional or innovative cementitious materials and the assessment of reinforced concrete led to significant progress in methods for evaluating structures, optimising maintenance and preventing deterioration. This work has contributed to a comprehensive revision of French and European standards.

The implementation of a circular construction economy and sustainable management of natural resources requires the use of recycled materials and biomaterials as well as improved life cycle assessment (LCA) techniques. Within the framework of the Energy Transition Law, an agreement with the DRI (Directorate for Research and Development) at the MTES was signed in 2017 to manage the FastCarb project which receives support from IREX. This project brings together some twenty institutional, industrial and research partners. Its goal is to use recycled concrete aggregate as a carbon sink in order to reduce the CO2 footprint of concrete, improve its recycling and make it possible to incorporate a greater percentage of this material in concrete.

2017 was also marked by the launch of research projects on emerging themes such as the digital transition of infrastructure and the impact of climate change on engineering structures and transport infrastructure. These include the launch of large-scale European H2020 projects such as ENSEMBLE, which contains a WP led by IFSTTAR to study the impact of platooning on infrastructure, traffic flow, road safety and the organisation of logistics. Another European project is PANOPTIS which is concerned with the monitoring and maintenance of transport infrastructures using representative digital models calibrated with data from surveillance, performed in particular by drones. This project also includes a climate change adaptation component.