102 days ago on emploi.epfl.ch

ENAC - PhD position - "Composite Sandwich Bridge Decks on Fire"

EPFL - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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ENAC - PhD position - "Composite Sandwich Bridge Decks on Fire"

ENAC - PhD position - “Composite Sandwich Bridge Decks on Fire”


Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)


EPFL Lausanne, ( www.epfl.ch ) Switzerland- School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Composite Construction Laboratory ( www.cclab.ch )


The work will encompass the investigation of the performance of composite sandwich bridge decks on fire. Lightweight, durable and sustainable composite bridge decks have been designed and manufactured during the last decade. They are composed of glass fiber-reinforced (GFRP) face sheet and Balsa wood core materials and offer a high resistance against environmental exposure, while they require low maintenance. Furthermore, they can be prefabricated and thus rapidly installed, minimizing therefore traffic disruptions in the case of bridge deck replacement, e.g. in the case of replacing a deteriorated concrete by a new sandwich deck.

However, this new type of sandwich bridge decks has to meet the same requirements as traditional concrete decks do. In particular, their behavior during a fire incident has to be known and predictable. Although fire is an accidental action according to Eurocodes, it has to be taken into account in the design of bridges and should not lead to a premature collapse. The knowledge about the combined thermo-mechanical behavior during a fire of these new sandwich decks is therefore crucial, in particular since the polymer matrix of the GFRP material and the Balsa core are sensitive to high temperatures and combustible.

Investigations on three levels are planned, a) on the constituent material level, b) on the sandwich panel level, and c) on the bridge deck and superstructure level, which includes adhesively-bonded joints between the individual panels (which form the deck) and between the deck and the bridge girders

During this research project, a systematic experimental investigation of the thermo-physical and thermo-mechanical behavior of the constituent materials and the bridge deck will be performed, and appropriate models for the assessment of the residual properties of the examined structural components will be developed. The findings of the proposed research will be published in scientific journals and presented at international conferences.

The work is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and will be directed by the Composite Construction Laboratory. IST from the University of Lisbon is a research partner.


Desired student knowledge/interests should lie in mechanics of composite materials and structures, structural engineering and/or materials science. Knowledge of FE methods and/or computer programming would be an asset.

Entrance upon

1 stSeptember 2017


Four (4) years, 9-12 months will be spent in IST.

Contact address

Prof. Thomas Keller / Dr. Anastasios P. Vassilopoulos

Composite Construction Laboratory (CCLab)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Station 16

CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland


thomas.keller@epfl.ch , anastasios.vasilopoulos@epfl.ch , http://www.cclab.ch


Bridge decks, Fire, Modeling, Residual properties, Sandwich composites, GFRP, Balsa core