Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Laser and radar unveil the secrets of Roman bridges

Date:
March 12, 2014
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Discovering hidden arches, visualizing the sloped outline characteristic of the medieval period, finding a Renaissance engraving on a Roman arch or detecting restorations: these are some of the results that have been obtained in a recent study of more than 80 roman and medieval bridges. The assessment was carried out with the help of a ground-penetrating radar, a laser scanner and mathematical models, technology that benefit conservation.

3D model of the roman bridge of Segura, on the border between Spain and Portugal.
Credit: Grupo de Geotecnologías Aplicadas (UVigo)

Discovering hidden arches, visualising the sloped outline characteristic of the medieval period, finding a Renaissance engraving on a Roman arch or detecting restorations: these are some of the results that have been obtained by researchers at the University of Vigo (Spain) in their study of more than 80 Roman and medieval bridges. The assessment was carried out with the help of a ground-penetrating radar, a laser scanner and mathematical models, technology that benefit conservation.

In recent years, UNESCO and other organisations concerned with the conservation of cultural heritage have underlined the importance of using non-destructive methods to document monuments´ characteristics and evaluate their state of conservation.

Along these lines, researchers from the Applied Geotechnology Group at the University of Vigo have used laser and radar to study, using light beams and waves, around 85 ancient bridges in north-west Spain. The latest bridge to be studied: Monforte de Lemos, in Lugo, according to the Journal of Bridge Engineering.

"As well as obtaining information like the thickness of the stones inside, the GPR has reported the existence of two hollow arches in this medieval bridge, hidden underground at one of the edges," Dr. Mercedes Solla, one of the authors and current professor at the Defence Academy (Marín, Pontevedra), explains.

The GPR comprises an antenna that emits and receives short pulses, a control unit and a computer. The ensemble can be set up in a type of cart, in which the system is installed or in a mobile survey vehicle to collect data along the road of the bridge.

"The information from this system is combined with the information provided by the LiDAR or terrestrial laser scanner, whose beam sweeps over the whole bridge and in a few minutes takes the XYZ coordinates of millions of points of the monument," says Solla. The result is a point cloud, from which detailed plans and 3D models of the bridge can be obtained.

This has led to the detection of unknown structural and geometric details, including cracks in many of the constructions. In some cases, such as in the Roman bridge of Segura, between the municipalities of Piedras Albas (Cáceres, Spain) and Segura (Portugal), this technology has also been used to detect the remainders of a Renaissance engraving in one of the arches.

In another Roman bridge, in Lugo, researchers have identified restorations carried out over time, differentiating between areas where granite has been used (the waves of the radar spread faster) and others where schist is present, a material which has a lower conductivity. It has also been detected that the outline of the bridge sloped upwards and downwards during the Middle Ages, although today it is level.

According to Solla, "all this information is of historic interest, but it is also useful to civil engineers so that they can plan conservation, improvement and restoration measures in these types of infrastructures."

The researchers are currently working with a mobile bridge survey vehicle that comprises a mobile 3D laser scanner, a GPR, thermographic cameras and a surface 'profilometer'. The initiative is part of a European project for the application of technologies for infrastructure management and inspection (known in Spanish as SITEGI).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mercedes Solla, Belén Riveiro, Henrique Lorenzo, Julia Armesto. Ancient Stone Bridge Surveying by Ground-Penetrating Radar and Numerical Modeling Methods. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 2014; 19 (1): 110 DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)BE.1943-5592.0000497

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Laser and radar unveil the secrets of Roman bridges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082633.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2014, March 12). Laser and radar unveil the secrets of Roman bridges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082633.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Laser and radar unveil the secrets of Roman bridges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082633.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iconic 'Easy Rider' Chopper Bike to Go on Auction Block

Iconic 'Easy Rider' Chopper Bike to Go on Auction Block

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — The iconic Harley-Davidson motorbike ridden by Peter Fonda in the 1969 classic "Easy Rider" is to go under the hammer in California, and auctioneers predict it will make at least $1 million. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins