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The Atlantic Zone, like any coastal region, has many harbours, communication infrastructures (bridges), and tourist buildings. These infrastructural elements are necessary to the economic life/sustainability of the region. Their location could be such that they are immersed, or in marling, swell or spray zones. Common pathologies (like corrosion, biological attacks (i.e. bacteria, moulds), leaching...) may coexist in some areas whereas in others the form of attack is specific to a situation/location. The severity of the attack mechanism(s) is(are) also highly site specific. These pathologies can induce a structural, functional or aesthetics degradation of the infrastructure where the rate of deterioration is site specific. Such degradation can result in a loss of serviceability of the infrastructure at an elemental or global level.

The managers/owners of such structures in the region are therefore confronted with questions concerning the time to initiate maintenance/rehabilitation and the extent to which this maintenance/rehabilitation should be carried out. The main implication being cost of repair and required budget spend. To adequately address these questions structure managers/owners must have tools for diagnosis of damage, for modelling the evolution of this damage with time and for optimisation of budget spend with respect to the extent of repair/rehabilitation (if any) to be performed on the structure. Such a tool must also be able to assess optimum times to intervention in order to optimise whole life spend for a individual structure or indeed for networks of structures.

The companies/operators charged with performing rehabilitation work also require reliable information concerning the quality of the available reparation products, their lifespan, and their suitability for specific situations.

MEDACHS objectives
• propose solutions to increase in a durable way the tourist value of old buildings and to improve the methods of repair of transport infrastructures (bridge, wharfs ...);
• answer the concerns of the end-users (administrative of public and private works, engineering and design departments) on the one hand while being based on specific cases of works subjected to deterioration, and on the other hand by writing operational practical recommendations to improve the procedures of maintenance of the works;
• give tools to companies in the Atlantic Space to increase competitiveness through collaborations or technology transfers;
• facilitate the transfer of knowledge towards the end-users (building owner, local authorities, diagnosis and maintenance experts, work managers) by the mean of data bases (materials, methods of protections, etc.) and of a decision-making software tool;
• carry out a European transfer of knowledge because the data base will be available on a Web site in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese (a later translation in other European languages can be possible);
• take into account different environments, the studied works are located under various latitudes (from Lisbon in Dublin). Thus it will be possible to take into account, and not only in laboratory but also in situ, the effect of the various environments (salinity, moisture, average and extremes temperatures etc.);
• develop a transnational and European network of completed research in this area, linking collaborate administrations and laboratories which have already a complementary know-how on these topics.

MEDACHS Research
• Study of ageing in saline air of wood, steel, stones (according to their career), and of reinforced concrete.
• Study of the available tools of measurements to evaluate the state of degradation of materials in laboratory and in situ.
• Evaluation of the state of structure in place (steel bridge and concrete reinforced bridge, stone monument, timber structure, wharfs, wharfs on piles): measure using tools of NDT, modelling of the structure.
• Definition of an optimal policy of maintenance for structures similar to the preceding ones.

The project ends in December 2007.