Fachhochschule Erfurt – Fachrichtung Bauingenieurwesen

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Project description

Development of uniform guidelines for the design, construction, monitoring and testing of protected timber bridges

Natural, ecological, durable - the new generation of timber bridges

Wood is one of the oldest building materials in human history.Centuries-old timber bridges reveal the beauty and potential of this natural building material and reflect the added value of the region. In the course of the industrial revolution, concrete and steel replaced wood as a building material over the past century. Unjustifiably so, if one considers the advantages of using this natural building material! Germany has the largest wood reserves in Europe. With sustainable forest management, timber will continue to be the only renewable raw material available in sufficient quantities as a building material in the future.
With the current sustainability debate, timber construction is experiencing a new level of public appreciation. Using wood for building bridges is not only a question of courage, but also of responsibility. In order for wooden bridges to have a long service life, they must be well protected, properly planned and carefully constructed. This requires regulations that reflect the current state of science and technology. Extensive technical guidelines are available in Germany for bridges made of concrete and steel, but there are no comparable guidelines for timber bridges. On the one hand, dispensing with regulations opens up new creative design options. On the other hand, there is a high risk of serious planning and implementation errors. Without uniform guidelines, standardized details and solutions have to be developed from scratch for each new project. As a result of the increased expenditure, engineering firms and construction companies are unable to generate profitable returns.
Due to the lack of guidelines, there is currently a considerable competitive disadvantage for the construction of bridges with the sustainable building material wood. Antje Simon's team aims to eliminate this competitive disadvantage with its research. The researchers will compile a compendium of technical guidelines comprising the regulations necessary for the design and construction of protected timber bridges and the maintenance of timber bridges. By means of wood moisture monitoring on selected bridges, they intend to derive findings on the development of wood moisture and the durability of these structures.The guidelines will be aligned with those recognised and introduced for other building materials in order to make them easier to apply in practice.
The project is being carried out by researchers from the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt together with engineering firms and timber construction companies and under the expert supervision of the Quality Association for Timber Bridge Construction. Those involved in the project expect a noticeable increase in the proportion of timber bridges on the market. Aesthetic, well-protected and durable wooden bridges are expected to increasingly shape the landscape in the years to come.


Project description
Project output


Project management:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Antje Simon
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf W. Arndt


Dipl.-Ing. Markus Jahreis
Johannes Koch, M.Eng.

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