Engineering techniques of the future were demonstrated to a medieval charity during a recent visit to the University of West London (UWL).
Representatives from the Rochester Bridge Trust were invited to a day of presentations hosted by Professor Amir Alani, who has held the post of the Rochester Bridge Trust Professor of Engineering since 2018, and a team of engineers.
The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the research carried out at the university and to explore the Faringdon Centre for Non-Destructive Testing. In particular, this was an opportunity to find out more about projects that could have real-world applications for the Trust’s work to maintain crossings of the River Medway.
The Trust’s delegation included Junior Warden Derek Butler, Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive) Sue Threader and other representatives from among the trustees and staff.
Derek Butler commented: “It was a fascinating day for all of us as we learned about some of the new techniques being developed for non-invasive testing. We are grateful to the team at UWL for taking the time to share their work with us and we look forward to continuing this relationship.”
The day involved a series of presentations about some of the university’s current research projects, including an introduction to non-destructive testing as a way to monitor infrastructure without causing any damage, as well as the use of virtual reality to visualise the different stages of work.
James Booth, Bridge Manager at the Trust, was also in attendance. He added: “When it comes to maintaining an historic bridge – as was proved during the recent refurbishment – countless unknowns can be revealed as you unpeel the layers of history. This presentation demonstrated the capabilities and skills of the research team as they showed us how they are able to ‘look’ beneath the surface of a structure to identify hidden items.
“The virtual reality also caught our attention because a simple version of this had been utilised during the refurbishment. It was exciting to see how much the university has advanced the potential of this technology.
“We will be following these and many other projects with interest.”