Life-cycle assessment: A comparison between two optimal post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges

Acaban de publicarnos un artículo en la revista del JCR (Q2) Sustainability que compara dos puentes postesados óptimos de sección en cajón atendiendo a su ciclo de vida. Creemos que la metodología empleada puede ser de interés para casos de estructuras de hormigón similares a las presentadas. El artículo forma parte del proyecto de investigación BRIDLIFE “Puentes pretensados de alta eficiencia social y medioambiental bajo presupuestos restrictivos“.

Os paso a continuación el resumen y el artículo propiamente dicho, pues está publicado en abierto.

 

 

Abstract:

The goal of sustainability involves a consensus among economic, environmental and social factors. Due to climate change, environmental concerns have increased in society. The construction sector is among the most active high environmental impact sectors. This paper proposes new features to consider a more detailed life-cycle assessment (LCA) of reinforced or pre-stressed concrete structures. Besides, this study carries out a comparison between two optimal post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges with different maintenance scenarios. ReCiPe method is used to carry out the life-cycle assessment. The midpoint approach shows a complete environmental profile with 18 impact categories. In practice, all the impact categories make their highest contribution in the manufacturing and use and maintenance stages. Afterwards, these two stages are analyzed to identify the process which makes the greatest contribution. In addition, the contribution of CO2fixation is taken into account, reducing the environmental impact in the use and maintenance and end of life stages. The endpoint approach shows more interpretable results, enabling an easier comparison between different stages and solutions. The results show the importance of considering the whole life-cycle, since a better design reduces the global environmental impact despite a higher environmental impact in the manufacturing stage.

Keywords:

sustainabilityenvironmental impactlife-cycle assessmentconstruction LCAbridge LCAReCiPe;sustainable construction

Reference:

PENADÉS-PLÀ, V.; MARTÍ, J.V.; GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.;  YEPES, V. (2017). Life-cycle assessment: A comparison between two optimal post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges. Sustainability, 9(10):1864. doi:10.3390/su9101864 (link)

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Carbon embodied optimization for buttressed earth-retaining walls: implications for low-carbon conceptual designs

Nos acaban de publicar en la revista de Elsevier del primer decil, Journal of Cleaner Production, un artículo donde se estudia el diseño de los muros de contrafuertes optimizados para reducir sus emisiones de CO2. Este artículo forma parte de nuestra línea de investigación BRIDLIFE en la que se pretenden optimizar estructuras atendiendo no sólo a su coste, sino al impacto ambiental que generan a lo largo de su ciclo de vida. El artículo lo podéis descargar GRATUITAMENTE hasta el 27 de agosto de 2017 en el siguiente enlace:

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VLOP3QCo9NDzg

Abstract:

This paper shows the differences between the design of a reinforced concrete structure considering two objectives to minimize; economic cost and CO2 emissions. Both objectives depend on the amount of two high carbon intensive materials: cement in the concrete and steel; therefore, these objectives are related. As the balance between steel and cement per m3 of concrete depends on several factors such as the type of structure, this study focuses on buttressed earth-retaining walls. Another factor that determines the balance between steel and concrete is the height of the wall. Thus, the methodology considers a parametric study for optimal designs of buttressed earth-retaining walls, where one of the parameters is the wall height. One of the objectives is to show the variation in cost when CO2 is minimized, respectful of minimizing the economic cost. The findings show that wall elements under bending-compressive strains (i.e. the stem of the buttressed retaining wall) perform differently depending on the target function. On one hand, the study reveals an upward trend of steel per unit volume of concrete in emission-optimized earth-retaining buttressed walls, compared to the cost-optimized. On the other hand, it is checked that unlike the cost-optimized walls, emission-optimized walls opt for a higher concrete class than the minimum class available. These findings indicate that emission-optimized walls penalize not only concrete volume, but also the cement content, to the extent that a higher concrete class outperforms in reduced emissions. Additionally, the paper outlines how and to what extent the design of this typology varies for the two analyzed objectives in terms of geometry and amount of materials. Some relevant differences influencing the geometry of design strategies are found.

Keywords:

Cargon emission; CO2; earth-retaining wall; reinforced concrete; Harmony search; Threshold accepting

Reference:

MOLINA-MORENO, F.; MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V. (2017). Carbon embodied optimization for buttressed earth-retaining walls: implications for low-carbon conceptual designs. Journal of Cleaner Production, 164:872-884.

Multi-objective design of post-tensioned concrete road bridges using artificial neural networks

Nos acaban de publicar en línea en la revista Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization (revista indexada en JCR en el primer cuartil) un trabajo de investigación en el que utilizamos las redes neuronales artificiales junto para el diseño multiobjetivo de puentes postesados de carreteras. Os paso a continuación el resumen y el enlace al artículo por si os resulta de interés. El enlace del artículo es el siguiente: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00158-017-1653-0

Referencia:

García-Segura, T.; Yepes, V.; Frangopol, D.M. (2017). Multi-objective design of post-tensioned concrete road bridges using artificial neural networks. Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, doi:10.1007/s00158-017-1653-0

Abstract:

In order to minimize the total expected cost, bridges have to be designed for safety and durability. This paper considers the cost, the safety, and the corrosion initiation time to design post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges. The deck is modeled by finite elements based on problem variables such as the cross-section geometry, the concrete grade, and the reinforcing and post-tensioning steel. An integrated multi-objective harmony search with artificial neural networks (ANNs) is proposed to reduce the high computing time required for the finite-element analysis and the increment in conflicting objectives. ANNs are trained through the results of previous bridge performance evaluations. Then, ANNs are used to evaluate the constraints and provide a direction towards the Pareto front. Finally, exact methods actualize and improve the Pareto set. The results show that the harmony search parameters should be progressively changed in a diversification-intensification strategy. This methodology provides trade-off solutions that are the cheapest ones for the safety and durability levels considered. Therefore, it is possible to choose an alternative that can be easily adjusted to each need.

Keywords:

Multi-objective harmony search; Artificial neural networks; Post-tensioned concrete bridges; Durability; Safety.

Method for estimating the social sustainability of infrastructure projects

Niigata soil liquefaction. Wikipedia

La evaluación de la sostenibilidad social de los proyectos no es un tema sencillo ni inmediato. Si bien los impactos medioambientales se han estudiado en el ámbito científico con cierta profundidad, los impactos sociales de las infraestructuras se han investigado mucho menos. Es más, en numerosas ocasiones dichos impactos se han minusvalorado. Pues bien, nos acaban de publicar un artículo en la revista Environmental Impact Assessment Review (revista indexada en el JCR, primer cuartil de impacto) en el cual proponemos una metodología que permite afrontar este reto.

Elsevier permite descargar de forma gratuita este artículo hasta el 14 de junio de 2017 accediendo al siguiente enlace: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1UxW7iZ5spJDe

Referencia:

SIERRA, L.A.; PELLICER, E.; YEPES, V. (2017). Method for estimating the social sustainability of infrastructure projects. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 65:41-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2017.02.004

Highlights:

  • Method to select suitable infrastructure projects from the social sustainability point of view
  • Emphasizes social interactions of the infrastructure in the short and long term
  • Distinguishes the social sustainability of infrastructure projects in different locations
  • Efficiency of a social contribution in terms of early social benefits and a long-term distribution
  • Supports early decision-making of public agencies regarding infrastructure projects

 

Abstract:

Nowadays, sustainability assessments tend to focus on the biophysical and economic considerations of the built environment. Social facets are generally underestimated when investment in infrastructure projects is appraised. This paper proposes a method to estimate the contribution of infrastructure projects to social sustainability. This method takes into account the interactions of an infrastructure with its environment in terms of the potential for short and long-term social improvement. The method is structured in five stages: (1) social improvement criteria and goals to be taken into account are identified and weighed; (2) an exploratory study is conducted to determine transfer functions; (3) each criterion is homogenized through value functions; (4) the short and long-term social improvement indices are established; and finally, (5) social improvement indices are contrasted to identify the socially selected alternatives and to assign an order of priority. The method was implemented in six alternatives for road infrastructure improvement. The results of the analysis show that the method can distinguish the contribution to social sustainability of different infrastructure projects and location contexts, according to early benefits and potential long-term equitable improvement. This method can be applied prior to the implementation of a project and can complement environmental and economic sustainability assessments.

Keywords:

  • Social contribution;
  • Social improvement;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Method;
  • Social sustainability

 

 

Optimization of buttressed earth-retaining walls using hybrid harmony search algorithms

Para empezar este año 2017, nada mejor que te comuniquen la publicación de un artículo de investigación el mismo día 1. Se trata en este caso de la utilización de algoritmos heurísticos híbridos para optimizar el coste de muros de contrafuertes. Se ha publicado en la revista Engineering Structures.

Como suele ser habitual en la editorial Elsevier, os podéis descargar GRATUITAMENTE el artículo hasta el 20 de febrero accediendo al siguiente enlace:

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1UJQQW4G4Bl2d

Abstract:

This paper represents an economic optimization of buttressed earth-retaining walls. We explore the optimum solutions using a harmony search with an intensification stage through threshold accepting. The calibration of the resulting algorithm has been obtained as a result of several test runs for different parameters. A design parametric study was computed to walls in series from 4 to 16 m total height. The results showed different ratios of reinforcement per volume of concrete for three types of ground fill. Our main findings confirmed that the most sensitive variable for optimum walls is the wall-friction angle. The preference for wall-fill friction angles different to 0 in project design is confirmed. The type of fill is stated as the main key factor affecting the cost of optimum walls. The design parametric study shows that the soil foundation bearing capacity substantially affects costs, mainly in coarse granular fills (F1). In that sense, cost-optimum walls are less sensitive to the bearing capacity in mixed soils (F2) and fine soils of low plasticity (F3). Our results also showed that safety against sliding is a more influential factor for optimum buttressed walls than the overturning constraint. Finally, as for the results derived from the optimization procedure, a more suitable rule of thumb to dimension the footing thickness of the footing is proposed.

Keywords:

Structural design; Heuristics; Harmony search; Cost optimization; Concrete structures

Reference:

MOLINA-MORENO, F.; GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V. (2017). Optimization of buttressed earth-retaining walls using hybrid harmony search algorithms. Engineering Structures, 134:205-216. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engstruct.2016.12.042

 

 

A Review of Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methods Applied to the Sustainable Bridge Design

Puente en cajón postesado sobre el Turia (Quart de Poblet). Proyectado por Javier Manterola y construído por Dragados y Construcciones en 1991.

Actualmente existe una tendencia clara hacia la sostenibilidad en los proyectos de estructuras, para lo cual es necesario equilibrar los criterios que apoyan esta sostenibilidad: la economía, el medio ambiente y la sociedad. Estos pilares básicos presentan objetivos diferentes y habitualmente enfrentados entre sí. Esta realidad conduce hacia la necesidad de adoptar procesos de toma de decisiones que permitan alumbrar soluciones capaces de satisfacer, de la mejor manera posible, los principios de sostenibilidad citados. Los puentes forman parte de las infraestructuras básicas de comunicación entre los distintos territorios. Por lo tanto, constituye una necesidad ineludible garantizar la sostenibilidad de este tipo de estructuras a lo largo de su ciclo de vida.

A continuación se presenta un artículo recién publicado que tiene como objetivo principal revisar la aplicación de las técnicas de decisión multicriterio al caso de los puentes. Esta investigación se enmarca dentro del proyecto BRIDLIFE (BIA2014-56574-R), en el cual participan los autores. La revisión se ha realizado atendiendo a las fases del ciclo de vida del puente, teniendo en cuenta aquellos trabajos que proponen soluciones y realizan un proceso directo de toma de decisiones respecto a estas soluciones. Asimismo, también se han considerado aquellas aportaciones que, a pesar de no realizar una selección entre varias soluciones, aplican un método de toma de decisiones para evaluar una solución en particular. La relevancia de estos trabajos estriba en la forma en que se realizan los procesos de evaluación, los cuales constituyen la piedra angular para el proyecto de un puente desde el punto de vista de la sostenibilidad, atendiendo a todas y cada una de las fases de su ciclo de vida.

Este artículo lo podéis descargar en el siguiente enlace: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/8/12/1295, aunque también os lo dejo en el post para vuestra descarga directa.

Referencia:

Penadés-Plà, V.; García-Segura, T.; Martí, J.V.; Yepes, V. A Review of Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methods Applied to the Sustainable Bridge Design. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1295.

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Life cycle assessment of cost-optimized buttress earth-retaining walls: a parametric study

s09596526Nos acaban de publicar un artículo que versa sobre la evaluación del ciclo de vida de muros óptimos de contrafuertes. En este estudio se han analizado 30 muros optimizados de varias alturas (4-13 m), con terrenos de distintas capacidades portantes (0,2; 0,3 y 0,4 MPa). Os paso la referencia, el resumen y el enlace al artículo. Espero que os sea de interés.

NOTICIA: Hasta el 21 de diciembre de 2016 podéis descargaros gratis el artículo directamente en:

http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Tz-03QCo9JQWX

Aprovecha la oportunidad para no pagar los costes de descarga.

Highlights

  • A life cycle assessment over 30 optimized earth-retaining walls is conducted
  • Concrete presents the highest contribution to all impact categories
  • Steel significance on every impact increases with wall size
  • The recycling rate influences each impact category to different degrees
  • Savings on abiotic resource depletion with 70% recycled steel are about 72%

 

l-31-fig31-3-counterfort-retaining-wallsAbstract:

In this paper life cycle assessments are carried out on 30 optimized earth-retaining walls of various heights (4–13 m) and involving different permissible soil stresses (0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 MPa) in Spain. Firstly, the environmental impacts considered in the assessment method developed by the Leiden University (CML 2001) are analyzed for each case, demonstrating the influence of the wall height and permissible soil stress. Secondly, this paper evaluates the contribution range of each element to each impact. The elements considered are: concrete, landfill, machinery, formwork, steel, and transport. Moreover, the influence of the wall height on the contribution of each element over the total impact is studied. This paper then provides the impact factors per unit of concrete, steel, and formwork. These values enable designers to quickly evaluate impacts from available measurements. Finally, the influence of steel recycling on the environmental impacts is highlighted. Findings indicate that concrete is the biggest contributor to all impact categories, especially the global warming potential. However, the steel doubles its contribution when the wall heights increase from 4 m to 13 m. Results show that recycling rates affect impacts differently.

Keywords

Life cycle assessmentRetaining wallSustainability; Buttressed wall

Referencia:

ZASTROW, P.; MOLINA-MORENO, F.; GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; MARTÍ, J.; YEPES, V. (2017). Life cycle assessment of cost-optimized buttress earth-retaining walls: a parametric study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140:1037-1048. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.10.085

 

 

Multiobjective optimization of post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges considering cost, CO2 emissions, and safety

Sin título

ACCESO LIBRE AL ARTÍCULO:

The following personal article link, which will provide free access to your article, and is valid for 50 days, until September 14, 2016

http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1TROAW4G4Bhqk

Abstract: This paper presents a multiobjective optimization of post-tensioned concrete road bridges in terms of cost, CO2 emissions, and overall safety factor. A computer tool links the optimization modulus with a set of modules for the finite-element analysis and limit states verification. This is applied for the case study of a three-span continuous post-tensioned box-girder road bridge, located in a coastal region. A multiobjective harmony search is used to automatically search a set of optimum structural solutions regarding the geometry, concrete strength, reinforcing and post-tensioned steel. Diversification strategies are combined with intensification strategies to improve solution quality. Results indicate that cost and CO2 emissions are close to each other for any safety range. A one-euro reduction, involves a 2.34 kg CO2 emissions reduction. Output identifies the best variables to improve safety and the critical limit states. This tool also provides bridge managers with a set of trade-off optimum solutions, which balance their preferences most closely, and meet the requirements previously defined.

Keywords

  • Multiobjective optimization;
  • CO2 emissions;
  • Safety;
  • Post-tensioned concrete;
  • Box-girder bridge;
  • Multiobjective harmony search

Highlights

  • A multiobjective optimization of post-tensioned concrete road bridges is presented.
  • A computer tool combines finite-element analysis and limit states verification.
  • Output provides a trade-off between cost, CO2 emissions, and overall safety factor.
  • Near the optima, a one-euro reduction represents a 2.34 kg CO2 emissions reduction.
  • Results show the cheapest and most eco-friendly variables for improving safety.

Reference:

GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; YEPES, V. (2016). Multiobjective optimization of post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges considering cost, CO2 emissions, and safety. Engineering Structures, 125:325-336. DOI: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2016.07.012.

Appraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method

file.FeedFileLoaderAppraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method

Abstract:

Currently many university programs in the construction field do not take sustainability into account from a holistic viewpoint. This may cause a lack of sensitivity from future professionals concerning sustainability. Academics in construction must endeavor to instill a culture of sustainability in the curricula of their students. Therefore, this study proposes an active-learning method that allows graduate students in the construction field to take into consideration infrastructure sustainability from a variety of perspectives in a participatory process. The students applied an analytical hierarchical process to determine the appraisal degree of each criterion. A cluster statistical analysis was carried out, aiming to identify the profiles that influence decision-making. This method was applied to two classes of graduate students enrolled in the Master of Planning and Management in Civil Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de València. This method identified a correlation between the profiles toward sustainability and the characteristics of the chosen infrastructure. It was also found that the method fulfills educational purposes: most of the students obtained more than 65% of the target learning outcomes. This approach promotes awareness and sensitivity to different points of view of the sustainability in a participatory context. It can be replicated in other contexts so as to obtain appraisals regarding various criteria that help enhance decision-making.

Highlights

  • Proposal of a method that allows students to consider infrastructure sustainability.
  • Participatory learning method that promotes integral sustainability.
  • Students profiles’ identification influencing decision making toward sustainability.
  • The profiles of evaluators influence the prioritization among alternatives.

Reference:

PELLICER, E.; SIERRA, L.A.; YEPES, V. (2016). Appraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method. Journal of Cleaner Production, 113:884-896. DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.11.010