Combined Convolutional Neural Networks and Fuzzy Spectral Clustering for Real Time Crack Detection in Tunnels


A computer vision module is proposed for crack detection in tunnels, a challenging process due to the low visibility, the curvature from, and the structures of the cracks which, though being very narrow in width, they are very deep. Our system is embedded on a robot which surveys tunnels in real-time as it is moving in the infrastructure. Initially, a Convolutional Neural Network is employed to detect the cracks which, however, yields only approximate regions due to the great complexity of the scene. Then, a combined fuzzy spectral clustering is then introduced to refine the detected crack regions exploiting spatial and orientation coherency. The algorithms have been tested in real-life tunnels in Egnatia Highway. Our scheme yields high detection accuracy than existing methods and the capacity of the robot to touch the crack to allow in-situ measurements within a precision of 2-3cm in a tunnel of 7m height.

Current Challenges and Future Trends in Analytical Fragility and Vulnerability Modelling

Abstract: The lack of empirical data regarding earthquake damage or losses has propelled the development of dozens of analytical methodologies for the derivation of fragility and vulnerability functions. Each method will naturally have its strengths and weaknesses, which will consequently affect the associated risk estimates. With the purpose of sharing knowledge on vulnerability modeling, identifying shortcomings in the existing methods, and recommending improvements to the current practice, a group of vulnerability experts met in Pavia (Italy) on April 2017. Critical topics related with the selection of ground motion records, modeling of complex real structures through simplified approaches, propagation of aleatory and epistemic uncertainties, and validation of vulnerability results were discussed, and suggestions were proposed to improve the reliability and accuracy in vulnerability modeling

Funky Structure Behavior Factors

Behavior (q-)factors are funky. They are fun and they are magic. Just look at how the symbol breaks the boring symmetry of a circle with a random squiggly or straight hanging tail. It perfectly embodies the spirit of the q-factor that on the surface, above the straight line of writing, seems profoundly round and deterministically predictable, while in reality it is all about the tail of unknown shape and magnitude that is hanging underneath. One may choose to ignore this, sweeping all uncertainty under a carpet of expert opinion, or attempt to directly measure it, using the best that the current state-of-art has to offer. The first option may be attractive for typical buildings, where considerable experience has been amassed, but will probably fail in misery for newer systems, interesting structures or unfamiliar situations. To capture this funky nature of the q-factor, let us try to provide a mathematically tractable definition and discuss ways of quantifying it, for a building, an ensemble of similar buildings, or a class of dissimilar buildings of the same structural system, spread over one or more sites.

Downtime Assessment of Base-isolated Liquid Storage Tanks


Seismic base isolation is examined as a design alternative for supporting industrial facility liquid storage tanks against earthquake loading. A 160,000 m3 liquid storage tank is adopted as a case study, for which two designs are assessed, one with and one without base isolation. Using a nonlinear surrogate model and a set of ground motion records selected using the conditional spectrum approach for the average spectral acceleration intensity measure, Incremental Dynamic Analysis is employed to derive seismic fragility curves. Consequences of damage are evaluated in terms of downtime, considering the characteristics of petrochemical storage tanks, whereby any repair requires a lengthy list of actions dictated by health and safety requirements. The results reveal considerable benefits when base-isolation is employed, by drastically reducing downtime when sufficient displacement capacity is provided in the isolators.

Mixed Probabilistic Seismic Demand Models for Fragility Assessment

A mixture model is presented for combining the results of different models or analysis approaches into a single probabilistic seismic demand model that is suitable for fragility assessment. A structure can be represented using different model types or even levels of resolution for the same type, while it may also be analysed via methods of different complexity, most notably static versus dynamic nonlinear approaches. Combining the results from different models or analysis methods can be beneficial as it allows updating the results of a simpler approach or combining the strengths of two different models. For example, different model types may offer accuracy advantages in complementary response regions. This is the case of distributed-plasticity fiber models that offer higher fidelity for reinforced concrete frames at low (pre-capping) deformations, while lumped-plasticity models are more reliable for larger (postcapping) deformations closer to collapse. Through the combination of the results of both models we can potentially better capture the performance of the frame at all levels of seismic intensity. By employing a minimal 5 parameter power-law-based model we offer viable options for forming mixed probabilistic seismic demand models that can combine both different models and different analysis methods into a single output suitable for fragility assessment.

Decision Support for Road Infrastructure Resilience: The PANOPTIS Perspective


The PANOPTIS consortium aims to leverage existing tools and services as well as remote sensing technologies to deliver an integrated platform that can address road infrastructure (RI) multi-hazard resilience. The scope of the project incorporates RI structural components (bridges, overpasses, interchanges, tunnels, slopes, retaining walls, pavements, and surface water drains), non-structural components (tunnel ventilation systems, traffic cameras and signposts), as well as interconnected non-RI components, such as power transmission lines and telecommunication towers. Both detailed and surrogate structural models will be developed for RI and non-RI components, quantifying and incorporating the epistemic uncertainty due to the detailed models’ reduction to surrogacy to allow a rapid high-resolution assessment of vulnerability, whereby loss, functionality and downtime become directly tied to rehabilitation/emergency action planning. The focus is on the development of a rapid-response decision-support tool that will employ measured data immediately after any seismic event to issue inspection prioritization protocols, facilitate the rapid assessment of the state of the RI, and help increase its resilience to catastrophic events.

Prescriptive Approaches in Performance-based Design? A Case-study on Base Isolation

The collapse performance of code-designed base-isolated structures has recently received considerable criticism, having been found to be deficient vis-à-vis conventional buildings in several situations. As a remedy, prescriptive minima with a tenuous probabilistic justification have been recommended in the literature for the bearing deformation capacity. These are independent of structure or site characteristics, yet they are already finding use in design. We put this concept to the test by means of a case study of a seismically isolated steel structure that rests on the roof of two adjacent high-rise reinforced concrete towers. To seismically isolate the steel structure, Friction Pendulum Bearings (FPBs) are used, and their displacement capacity is determined to comply with a performance objective of 1% probability of collapse in 50 years. The case study possesses two salient features that distinguish it from pertinent past investigations. The first is that the isolated steel structure rests on top of two others and consequently it is subjected to narrow-band roof acceleration time histories, shaped by the filtering of the ground motion excitation through the supporting buildings. The second is that the two supporting towers have different modal characteristics, thus displacement demands imposed to the FPBs are mainly affected by their in-phase or out-of-phase movement. Overall, a case-specific true performance-based design is shown to achieve the desired safety while requiring 1.5 times lower displacement capacities for the bearings, when compared to prescriptive “performance-based” approaches.

Issues in Harmonization of Seismic Performance via Risk Targeted Spectra


Current seismic design code provisions are mainly based on checking structural performance at a single seismic intensity associated with a pre-defined return period. For instance, in EN1998, a ground motion with 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years is used for design. This design procedure, with the inclusion of partial safety factors, is assumed to provide sufficient safety margin against earthquakes for newly designed buildings. Nevertheless, it does not specifically determine the expected seismic risk related to any performance level or limit state. Therefore, it may result in non-uniform risk for buildings located in different sites within a region (or country), even for places with identical design intensities. Instead, ASCE 7-10 incorporates Risk Targeted design maps that suggest the application of suitable spectra adjustment factors, in order to ensure a reasonably low uniform collapse risk. Making use of simplified single degree of freedom structures defined in several configurations of period and ductility, our aim is to test the effectiveness of the adjustment factors computed under different assumptions. It is shown that, although matching is not practically possible, harmonization remains a viable target, offering insights for possible future adoption of Risk Targeted Spectra in forthcoming seismic codes.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No  769129