This is my first post on this blog. During my research within Infrastrar programme I will try to describe here the most important steps toward results.
The title of my topic is "Fatigue of reinforced concrete structural element". When I was starting my journey with this topic, I was expecting that we don't know enough about this process in our existing structures, thus I will need to investigate materials that were used in old times in construction to assess the safety of concrete structures which are 30, 40 or 50 years old now.
However, during the literature study I have discovered that in this kind of structures fatigue is not an important problem. All the other kinds of deterioration are much more dangerous. Furthermore, after reading many books and articles on this topic, I realised that we already know quite much on that. Current research, although important and interesting, are rather pin-pointed. And I wanted to look wider.
After coming to EPFL I have made another discovery. It seems that UHPFRC (Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Cementitious composite, more information here) about which I have heard a bit during my BSc. studies, and which was treated as material of future which probably won't be used quite soon... is not the material of future anymore! It seems it is being used in real structures, like bridges, roofs, beams etc. for almost two decades now.
Then, I have decided that I need not to only look broader, but also towards future. We should get to know the material, and prove to people that it is safe to use, and structures can be durable. One of questions is its fatigue behaviour, so what will happen to the bridge after one million trucks will pass it?
Luckily, at EPFL, where I am working now, there are other people who ask those questions. That's how I am sure this is the perfect place for me. And, during following three years in Infrastar (and four years in total, since here PhD programme lasts four years) I will be working on fatigue of UHPFRC. And will keep you informed.
PS.: Remember what I have heard about UHPFRC during my studies in Poland, where I come from? Unfortunately, this material has never been used there yet. Hopefully, I will make it happen, at least I will try... Once it will change from dream to plan, I will let you know!