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Elena Zancato

As a PhD researcher in the SUBLIME project, I work on WP1, which focuses on Structural degradation monitoring and prediction – corrosion and fatigue. My specific topic is fatigue, and my research goal is to develop a probabilistic framework that can update the fatigue life prediction of a steel bridge using sensor data from the structure. Fatigue is a key feature that introduces a lot of uncertainty in estimating the remaining life of a structure, which can lead to either unnecessary replacement or unexpected failure of a structure, due to unforeseen cracks. My project aims to reduce the uncertainty sources by applying probabilistic methods for the fatigue assessment of the structure. This will enable to estimate the current state of the bridge (i.e. some important characteristics, such as crack size and growth rate) and also determine the remaining fatigue life.

With a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Padua, I have a solid educational background in this field. I also had the opportunity to do my Master’s graduation project in the Netherlands through the Erasmus program. This opportunity allowed me to move to an international location while working on my graduation project, closely related to a topic I am passionate about and on which my current research is focused.

Reducing material waste is a crucial goal in today’s world, and one way to achieve it is to maintain in use the structures that are still functional. However, safety should not be compromised; no one wants to live in fear and doubt that the bridge they are driving on could collapse at any moment. It would be an immensely fulfilling personal achievement to contribute to the development of a tool that can be put to practical use and that gives people an added sense of security.

Although the project is still in its early stages, I am grateful to our academical and industrial partners for their availability and interest demonstrated. I am eager to work with you all and gain valuable insights from our collaboration.

Location: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Supervisors: Prof. Johan Maljaars, Prof. Bert Snijder, Dr. Davide Leonetti

Start date: October 1, 2023

End date: September 30, 2027

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