LIFETIME ORIENTED DESIGN CONCEPTS UNDER ASPECTS OF DEGRADATION
Optimum technological solutions must take into account the entire life cycle of structures including design procedures as well as quality assurance, inspection, maintenance, and repair strategies. Unfortunately, current design standards do not provide a satisfactory basis to ensure expected structural lifetimes. The latter may vary from only a few years for temporary structures to over a century for bridges, water dams or nuclear repositories. Consistent scientific concepts are urgently required to cover this wide spectrum of lifetimes in structural design and maintenance. This was a motivation for a group of scientists at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) to start a special research program supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Cooperative Research Center SFB 398 since 1996. Institutes of the University Wuppertal and of the University Essen-Duisburg joined the research group. The goal of the Center is to study sources of damage and deterioration in materials and structures, to develop consistent models and simulation methods, to predict structural lifetimes and finally to integrate this predictions into new lifetime-oriented design strategies. Research activities in our center are organised in three Project Groups as follows: - Modelling of lifetime effects - Methods for lifetime-oriented structural analyses - Future lifespan-oriented design strategies.