PLEXUS - Priming Laboratory Experiments on infrastructure and Urban Systems

PLEXUS - Priming Laboratory Experiments on infrastructure and Urban Systems

Priming Laboratory EXperiments on infrastructure and Urban Systems (PLEXUS) was developed as a UKCRIC pump-priming project designed to establish the new collaboration and practice frameworks needed for long-term, successful, collaborative UKCRIC laboratory environments. Collaborative and multi-disciplinary working has been essential for the success of the project, which includes 13 universities, 32 academic co-investigators, and multiple industry partners. As a result, there have been ample opportunities for personal development and networking.

PLEXUS explored the benefits of integral bridges and how they might provide other services, tackling three high added-value infrastructure problems:

  • Soil-Structure Interactions
  • Harvesting Energy from Infrastructure Systems
  • Deterioration of Infrastructure Materials

After the project’s completion, PLEXUS PLUS emerged from the successful experience of collaboration, and was the first pseudo-static experimental test on integral abutments at the UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure-Interaction Laboratory (SoFSI) of the University of Bristol. The project tackled two objectives:

  1. understanding soil-structure-interaction phenomena on abutment-backfill ensemble of integral bridges due to deck thermal expansion
  2. employing several monitoring systems necessary to map settlements, strain and pressure characteristics behind the abutment and within the Soil Pit

PLEXUS PLUS, led by the University of Bristol with the University of Birmingham and the University of Southampton, was the first experimental campaign in the UKCRIC SoFSI lab.

The team continues to meet to discuss how to take the collaboration and research forward. Find out more about the PLEXUS research outcomes and the PLEXUS and PLEXUS PLUS project, and read the publication “Challenges and perspectives for integral bridges in the UK: PLEXUS small-scale experiments” in the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Proceedings on Smart Infrastructure and Construction.