Intelligent structures

Semi-probabilistic, Sensor-based Design and Dimensioning Concepts for Intelligent Structures

Engineering structures are increasingly equipped with sensor technology in order to obtain sensor-based structural information throughout the entire life cycle. The sensor-based structural information can be provided in real time, further processed and linked with information from other sources to derive comprehensive knowledge about the respective structural conditions (Industry 4.0, Semantic Web, Internet of Things, "Intelligent Bridge"). Subsumed under the term "intelligent structure", engineering structure and structure monitoring system are considered as one unit. However, the current design concepts of such structures do not consider the additional sensor-based structural information. For example, the Eurocodes and the underlying partial safety concept are based on the assumption that no sensor-based information on the actual structural condition is available throughout the life cycle of a structure; instead, a hypothetical condition is assumed at the time of design and dimensioning, which is intended to represent different influences of the entire life cycle and associated uncertainties. As a result, unnecessary oversizing and significant additional costs can occur, which often also manifests itself in renovation and repair measures that cannot be optimally planned.

This research project has two objectives:

  1. The implications of the availability of additional sensor-based structural information in the context of intelligent structures on design concepts in civil engineering, in particular on existing partial safety concepts, are to be investigated.
  2. In addition, a generally applicable design concept for monitoring systems for intelligent structures will be developed on a substantive scientific basis and taking into account (1).

To achieve these objectives, a semi-probabilistic safety concept is developed, which takes into account the fact that continuously updated sensor data are collected for intelligent structures and additional structure information is available. A core of the work is concerned with the question of the extent to which structural resistances and the effects as well as their complex interactions can be recorded by sensors and how these can be formally represented. At the same time, the dimensioning and safety aspects of current concepts are methodically analyzed. It is obvious that the uncertainties on the action and resistance side can be significantly reduced by the approach followed here, but new uncertainties arise, which are caused by the sensor technology itself and by the connected hardware and software systems (e.g. sensor failure, sensor miscalibrations, interrupted data transmissions). These additional uncertainties are to be adequately mapped and integrated into the safety concept.

Project Type

German Research Foundation (DFG): Sachbeihilfe

Applicants:  Prof. Kraus, Prof. Smarsly

Funding Period
2018 - 2022

Kurzdarstellung (PDF)


Kraus, M.,  Chowdhury, S. (2022). Sensorbasierte Identifikation der Struktursteifigkeit zur Bemessung von Stahltragwerken. In: Stahlbau. (Advance online publication)                

Chowdhury, S., Kraus, M. (2022). Design-related Reassessment of Structures Integrating Bayesian Updating of Model Safety Factors.  In: Results in Engineering 16, 100560. Elsevier.

Kraus, M., Chowdhury, S., Wudtke, I. (2022). Intelligent Steel Structures – Model Updating Concepts for Innovative Design Strategies. ce/papers, Vol. 5( Issue 4), p. 1-9, Wiley Online Library.

Wudtke, I., Kraus, M. (2019) Perspectives of Experimentally Based Design Strategies in Steel Engineering. In: Advances in Engineering Materials, Structures and Systems: Innovations, Mechanics and Applications. Proceedings of Seventh International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation (SEMC 2019), Cape Town. CRC Press/Balkema, Taylor & Francis. (ISBN 978-1-138-38696-9, 978-0-429-42650-6)