Ground and Underground Infrastructure Damage Evaluation (GUIDE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

All surface and buried infrastructure have a limited safe life and it is vital to evaluate their condition and structural integrity during their service life to avoid potential catastrophic failure due to their deterioration. Accurate assessment of infrastructure's condition is of significant financial and strategic importance and allows better resources planning. The research presented in this proposal offers an innovative solution in the form of a unified framework to assess and evaluate the condition and structural integrity of both underground utility and surface transportation infrastructure, and its surrounding ground, by means of combining physical non-destructive testing and numerical modelling. The physical tests will be used to generate necessary data for the damage detection algorithm. The numerical simulation involves a hybrid back-calculation algorithm based on integration of finite element analysis and a novel evolutionary computing technique. The proposed numerical approach will be able to capture the non-linear and complex behaviour of both the ground and the buried utility and detect damage in infrastructure by characterising reduction in the constitutive properties of the finite element model of the system between two time-separated inferences. The proposed framework in this project will provide sufficient information on mechanical and structural condition of a system and will enable asset managers to make informed decisions with respect to what, where, when and how interventions are required with emphasis on structural stability and integrity of the infrastructure.

Planned Impact

This innovative multidisciplinary project will deliver an enhanced tool which can be used to evaluate structural stability and condition assessment of both surface transportation and buried utility infrastructure, and their relationship to the supporting properties of the ground. Using this advanced tool, it will be possible to improve our understanding of condition of infrastructure and provide a more accurate prediction of their service life. This will enable asset managers to efficiently plan their resources, and enhance sustainability and resilience of existing surface and underground infrastructure. The proposed tool will have huge public impact by saving millions of pounds of tax payers' money by providing a better prediction, compared with existing condition assessment techniques, for the remaining safe life of our infrastructure. In addition to asset managers, the proposal will have substantial short- and long-term benefits for asset owners, designers, contractors, researchers, government decision makers, and society as a whole.
In addition, there are a number of strategic investments being made by Government in infrastructure research that this proposal would fit with. For example, this work provides an underpinning platform for the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) of the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) which will be developed at the UoB, and UKCRIC activities as a whole. Moreover, the objectives of this proposal can support those of the UKCRIC in terms of establishment of world-leading computation and big data infrastructure for the modelling, simulation, and visualisation of cities and infrastructure.
The outcomes of this project will contribute towards improving the condition assessment and maintenance of surface transport and buried utility assets and ultimately enhancing the state of our infrastructures; an important matter particularly considering the decline of the UK's ranking in quality of infrastructure in the World Economic Forum rankings as reported by the ICE State of the Nation 2014.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A smart and advanced numerical tool has been developed to assess condition of the ground and buried assets. This was done by back-calculating ground characteristics using AI.
Exploitation Route Currently working on a practical version of the tool that can be passed on to engineering firms and asset managers for frequent condition assessment of their buried utilities.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction

 
Description Qvision2
Amount £96,072 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R043574/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 02/2019
 
Description School of Engineering postgraduate scholarship
Amount £54,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Birmingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2020
 
Title GUIDE leakage void inversion model 
Description This computational model can capture changes in the condition of ground and buried utilities using an AI-assisted finite element -based inversion model. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Currently in discussion with one of the GUIDE industrial partners to trial this model. If successful, can be offered to several asset managers and utility companies for inspection and damage detection due leakage. 
 
Description An invited lecture at the Durham University, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Over 30 academic staffs, researchers, and PhD students attended a lecture that I delivered on the subject of the research at Durham University. There was a great interest in the research and the lecture created questions and answers. In addition, after the lecture, in a meeting with a member of academic staffs from Durham, we identified a number of mutual interests in research and are currently planning to follow them up in form of research proposals and research articles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited lecture - Midland Geotechnical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Over 40 professional practitioners and postgraduate researchers attended this lecture at the University of Birmingham where monthly Midland Geotechnical Society lectures take place. There was a great interest in the subject and the lecture was followed by discussions and Q/A. One of the attendees from a well established construction industry have showed interest to take the subject forward to his colleagues for potential future collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.midlandgeotechnicalsociety.org.uk/meetings.shtml
 
Description Invited lecture by MIDAS software company 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Over 50 geotechnical engineering professionals and postgraduate students attended this seminar which was organised by MIDAS software in Birmingham, Crowne Plaza Hotel on 6th March 2019. I delivered a lecture on the use finite element method and AI-assisted numerical inversion techniques in geotechnical engineering problems. There was a buzzing environment after the lecture and the subject sparked many questions particularly from those professionals who were dealing with locating and condition assessment of buried utilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://en.midasuser.com/mail/2019/0207_gtsnx/edm.html
 
Description Invited lecture in Tongji University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was invited by Tongji University in Shanghai to deliver a lecture on the subject of the GUIDE project as a part of the 2nd international workshop on resiliency of urban tunnels and pipelines. The lecture was attended by several researchers from various institutions ranging from US, Singapore, Germany and many more. In addition, the lecture was attended by postgraduate students and researchers at the Tongji University. Post-discussion of the lecture with academics from US and Germany led to future related activity and plans.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at the University of Birmingham Digital Innovation Boot Camp 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Delivering a talk and an interactive workshop on the engineering applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blog.bham.ac.uk/digital-bootcamp/
 
Description University of Birmingham 2017 open days 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A small scaled model of the GUIDE experiment was created to show the mechanism of which the project principles are based on. Public, potential students and colleagues were engaged by participating in an interactive demonstration. The event raised awareness of the importance of the geotechnical engineering related problems in general and the need to develop innovative solutions for condition assessment of buried assets in particular.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://theguideproject.org/