University of Twente Student Theses


Conceptual modeling of lifecycle digital twin architecture for bridges : a data structure approach

Giorgadze, I.M. (2020) Conceptual modeling of lifecycle digital twin architecture for bridges : a data structure approach.

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Abstract:While the concept of BIM encourages the use of digital semantic models for communication and decision making across the entire lifecycle of assets, in the current practice, the use of BIM is predominantly limited to the design phase. The major issue with the use of BIM in the post-design phases is mainly the integration of non-design data (i.e., safety, productivity, and structural health, etc.) in the model, because in the current process this is done manually and therefore it is time-consuming and error prone. To address this gap, the concept of Digital Twin (DT) has emerged in recent years. In DT concept, cyber-physical system theory is utilized to use a wide array of sensory data to collect condition data about an existing asset and then integrate this data into the digital model. While a few pilot projects indicate the potentials of DT, the major limitation is that the current scope of DT is limited to operation and maintenance phase. This research argues that the DT concept can be extended to the entire lifecycle of the asset by trying to incorporate relevant sensory and non-sensory data into the digital model in an automated and systematic way. However, in the current literature there is no clear insight about such a holistic and life-cycle DT concept for infrastructure projects. Especially, there is very little understanding about how various sensory and non-sensory data from construction and operation phases can be seamlessly integrated into the 3D BIM models. Therefore, this research aims to develop a conceptual model for the architecture of Lifecycle DT (LDT) focusing on bridges. To this end, an ontological modeling approach was adopted to develop an overview of bridge LDT. Since this conceptual model would provide an insight into how to make conventional BIM models LDT-ready, it can be used as the basis for the transition towards the implementation of LDT for bridges. The developed conceptual model was validated through a set of interviews with experts. The findings of the research indicate a set of lifecycle information needs that the model should be equipped with, to cover the needs of different disciplines. These information pieces can be represented by a set of required fields in the BIM model. This way the sensory data are pre-allocated in the model at its early creation upgrading it into DT-ready. Apart from the sensory data a set of interlinked data pieces was identified among different databases of different disciplines. It is proposed that the LDT-ready BIM model serves also for linking these databases to enable a seamless information flow from one lifecycle phase to another. The allocation of all these data pieces occurred in an ontological model representing the data structure of the LDT-ready BIM model, as well as the relationships between different entities of the model. This ontological model offers an insight of a lifecycle modeling practice as well as an automated data incorporation in the model, confronting respective gaps in literature. Overall, the proposed solution enables a smooth transition towards an upgraded and more automated modeling practice as indicated by the concept of DT.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Construction Management and Engineering MSc (60337)
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