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ÅF researches new solutions for sustainable transport infrastructure

The built environment of today requires solutions for a resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable infrastructure. By using existing constructions in an optimal manner, rather than building anew, the effects of climate change can be reduced. Kent Kempengren, Bridge and Construction Engineer at ÅF, is undertaking a PhD in the subject.

The load effects are calculated in order to calculate the load bearing capacity, and consequently the durability of a construction. One way of optimising the usage of existing concrete  structures is to develop the existing calculation models. That is the focus of Kent Kempengren’s research, as industrial PhD candidate at the Department of Building and Environmental Technology, within the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in the south of Sweden.

“The calculation models of today do not accurately describe the behaviour of concrete material, resulting in calculations of load effects that do not show how the structure really carries its loads. In order to acquire the correct data there is often a need for further analysis, which is often complex, time-consuming and costly,” says Kent Kempengren.

Kent’s research is concerned with alternative, supplementary calculation models, specifically the development of two existing solutions for design and analysis of reinforced and prestressed concrete – the strut and tie method (STM) and the stress fields method (SFM). They show how loads, for example from vehicles on a bridge,  are carried by a concrete  structure, and thus helps identify where significant compressive and tensile forces appear.

ÅF takes part in the development both nationally and internationally. The research is conducted at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in cooperation with the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, with future international contribution from Switzerland and Portugal. It is expected that the first half of Kent Kempengren’s dissertation (licentiatavhandling) will be completed in the coming year.

“My goal is that the development of the STM and SFM methods, which my research is focused on, will be implemented when  designing new bridge structures in concrete, as well as when evaluating the load bearing capacity of existing bridges. STM and SFM are methods and tools that have the potential to significantly improve the resource efficiency of transport infrastructure,” says Kent Kempengren.