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The main goal of the project is to create the network of excellence DURATI-NET to facilitate an efficient exchange and transfer of knowledge, to promote the durability, safety and sustainability of transport infrastructures in the Atlantic Area, turning these regions more attractive to live in, to work and for competitive business. Different specific objectives, both short-term and log term, were defined in the transnational context The short-term objectives, to accomplish in the next three-year duration of the project, will be focused on the development of a work plan geared towards the application of optimised maintenance methodologies for existing transport infrastructures in the Atlantic Area, using durable and more environment-friendly repair materials and systems. The long–term objectives will be mainly focused on the creation of an Atlantic Area Cluster for the development of “Green and Smart Materials”, for applications to infrastructures, and on the perpetuation of DURATI web platform, for durable infrastructures, and on the improvement of the data base, for the benchmarking of service life models of structural materials, with data coming from previous works of the several partners and from MEDACHS project,.
The project must be considered in objective 1.1 – Development of knowledge transfers between companies and research centers of Priority 1: Promoting transnational entrepreneurial and innovation networks of the Atlantic Area Operational Program, according to the cohesion policy for 2007-2013 concerning the cohesive development of the knowledge economy.
The partnership includes 13 partners and 2 associated partners, from 5 countries and 7 Atlantic regions. The partners are as follows: 8 from partner research institutions, 4 from public management authorities in the area of transports, 1 is a non profitable institution for the development of construction science and the 2 associated partners are private companies, a contractor specialized in repair of structures and a producer of repair products. Partners from research institutions have different scientific and technical skills in the thematic area of the project and their expertise is complementary.
With the input of different expertise and complementary skills in the partnership, the revision of knowledge on repair and rehabilitation of structures, the best practices supporting the repair of reinforced concrete and metallic transport infrastructures and the reduction of their environmental impact using more “green” materials or procedures will be analysed according to the demands of the open market and the Construction Product Directives (CPD), as well as the life cycle methodologies for structural materials . Guidelines for the optimization of infrastructure maintenance and repair will be prepared. Particular consideration will be given to the harmonized European Standards recently developed in these areas and to the priority and strategic main objectives of the European policy for 2007-2013 towards the European cohesion, according to Lisbon and Gothenburg Agendas and to the need to meet EU commitments on greenhouse gas emissions as per Kyoto’s Protocol. After revision of the knowledge on repair and rehabilitation of structures, it will be also possible to develop synergies for a critical identification of new needs, as regards applied research in the field of transport infrastructures repair and by taking into consideration the specific aspects of the structures in the Atlantic Area. The achieved results could be used in recommendations for new developments and new research projects from national initiatives in each Atlantic Region or in co-operating activities in different European R&D programmes.
To accomplish the main goals of the project and to reach tangible
results five specific objectives were defined and 8 technical
activities, as well as 2 other administrative actions were planned and
are presented below.
1- To Produce Guidelines on the optimization of the maintenance of Reinforced Concrete and Steel
infrastructures and repair of materials. This objective will be considered in Activities 2, 3 and 4, with costs of 9%, 23% and 10% of the total budget, respectively. The work planned for the preparation of the guideline manuals concerning maintenance optimization methodologies, as well as repairing and protection of reinforced concrete and steel infrastructures.
2- To create new competences at the level of infrastructure maintenance for agents with different skills, by promoting workshops, for local authorities and contractors in the Atlantic regions, for dissemination of DURATI-NET guidelines and technical achievements, international conferences, a course and experimental demonstrations. This will represent a new opportunity to help the development of new skills of SME companies and, possibly, the creation of new employment in the area. Activity 9 of the work plan, with costs of 11% of the total budget, respectively, address this objective.
3- To identify new expertise on applied research concerning quality control needs as regards repair products and rehabilitation processes resulting from the application of harmonised European standards. This objective will be mainly developed in Activity 5 and 7 with 7% and 9% of the total costs.
4- To develop a Web Platform with areas open to the technical and scientific community to improve the expertise and knowledge about service life prediction of material performance and the ageing of repair materials. A Database (DB-DURATI) will be created to include data from performance of structural materials for the benchmarking of service life models and for the definition and optimization of reliable structural maintenance and repair strategies in marine environments. This kind of data does not exist yet in an open, consistent and reliable form. This can be considered as an innovative initiative in the project. The web platform will allocated all the technical reports for dissemination developed in the network. Aspects related with the use of this platform, after the end of the project, by contactors and material producers, concerning the dissemination of technical information about repair materials and systems and new technical advances in this area, will be also analysed from a perspective of support to DURATI NET actions after completion of the project. In Activity 8, different actions are planned to accomplish this objective, with a cost of 6% in relation to the project total cost.
5- To promote the development and use of “green and smart” structural materials and repair products, with a reduction in energy needs during its production or application, resulting from the incorporation of waste and recycled materials and by-products, with increased long-life performance and without harmfulness for applicant workers or users. This objective addresses new challenges and research areas in innovative products for construction and repair. The development and use of this kind of products will be essential to promote and to strengthen synergies between environmental protection and economic growth within the area of repair and rehabilitation of transport infrastructures. This objective is treated in Activity 6. Different actions are planned under the specific aspects concerned, representing 20%of the total cost of the project. These activities will contribute to the creation of an Atlantic Cluster for the development of “Green and Smart Materials” and their more intensive use in infrastructure applications.
The communication plan for the publicizing and dissemination of the project is considered to be a decisive task for the tangibility of the project results. This plan was defined in accordance with three main directions: dissemination of results for an efficient transfer of knowledge to end users (the publication of the repair guideline manual presides over this activity), publicizing of project activities and discussion with the technical and scientific community and awareness actions to obtain a critical mass for the formation of the Atlantic Cluster. The web platform created is expected to give an important contribution. The organization of several regional workshops, in the different regions of the Atlantic Area involved in the project, the technical course, as well as the organization of two international workshops (mid project) and the participation of all partners in different international conferences for project dissemination activities will be the most relevant dissemination actions. For the purpose, specific materials will be prepared, with a corporate identity and following the Programme rules, to promote the image of DURATI NET.