Posted by Albert Berenguel - 11 November, 2021
Part 2: Giuseppe Ippolito, Tecnologie Edili e Industriali in Progress S.r.l. (TEIP)
To investigate the challenges and opportunities that existing concrete structures present, and to provide insight into concrete preservation measures, Master Builders Solutions has interviewed a series of industry experts.
In the second session of the series, we talk to Giuseppe Ippolito, General Manager and founder of the company Tecnologie Edili e Industriali in Progress S.r.l (TEIP).
TEIP was founded in 2007 and works on the restoration and recovery of reinforced concrete structures, such as viaducts, dams, bridges, canals, towers and chimneys, including structural reinforcement using carbon fibre composites (CFRP), foils, fabrics and bars.
For example, TEIP is currently carrying out specialist reinforcement works to 48 beams on the Cernicchiara viaduct on the Mediterranean motorway. Interventions include the application of CFRP laminates to the bottom surface of the beams to provide flexural and shear reinforcement with CFRP fabric to the entire cross-section of the U-shaped beams at either end near the supports.
|View of the shear reinforcement with MasterBrace FIB||View of the flexural reinforcement with MasterBrace LAM|
With his many years of experience, Ippolito explains to us what causes the deterioration of concrete and steel structures, which includes the quality of the techniques and materials used during the construction phase:
“On the basis of my work experience, I can say that in the vast majority of cases, the infrastructures built 40 or 50 years ago are the result of the ingenuity of great designers and exceptional Italian construction companies. They have very often managed to do truly innovative works for that time, using technologies and materials that today are outdated because there has been great work and effort by the researchers in this sector.”
“Today we can surely say that the lack of monitoring and control systems is compensated by using equipment, technologies, and products that can give new life to these infrastructures if applied correctly ...”
Other factors that cause the deterioration of concrete structures include overloading and inadequate maintenance regimes. Loads carried by structures today maybe double or quadruple those considered during the design process. Limited or simply non-existent inspections and maintenance procedures, especially in elements such as expansion joints, rainwater management and pre-stressing systems, can lead to some worrying discoveries. In some cases, after installing temporary access to allow detailed inspection, owners find that their structures have deteriorated far more than expected.
Standard practice dictates that concrete structures that are over 50 years old will need some maintenance and repair operations, including the renovation of waterproofing membranes.
Ippolito tells us:
“Certainly, all concrete infrastructures, as well as steel ones, require periodical maintenance and restoration to their original condition. Obviously, the longer these structures have been in service, the more they need attention and care. As well as the quality of work and materials in the construction phase, the surrounding environment, operational stress, and the exposure period all contribute to the deterioration of the elements of a viaduct. Naturally, the more that single elements are protected from external attack, the longer the life of the viaduct becomes.”
Finally, sustainability is a hot topic for construction companies. Today, “sustainable infrastructure” must meet the population's essential service needs from end to end, encompassing environmental, economic, financial, and social factors.
Ippolito agrees on the importance of sustainability, linked to economic development:
“Any policy aimed to improve both the economic and environmental sustainability of an area or a nation also depends on the quality of mobility for both goods and people. In the current era of global competition, mobility is enabled by a big network (highway, rail, maritime, and air).”
In summary, ageing concrete structures need a detailed inspection to diagnose the causes of degradation followed by repair, protection and regular maintenance. Extending the service life of concrete structures using modern technologies saves resources and reduces the environmental impact of infrastructure.
Thank you very much to Giuseppe Ippolito for sharing his experiences and knowledge with us.
More information about the systems and experiences of Master Builders Solutions for dams and hydropower plants can be found via the links below: