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CNR’s industrial innovation

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The safety of its industrial facilities is one of CNR’s priorities as it must ensure the optimal safety of its employees and users. Innovation is therefore a constant concern to improve its structures and facilities.

CNR’s dikes: millimetric monitoring by drones

Thanks to their onboard cameras, drones can carry out topographical surveys of dike systems. This alternative to helicopters and ultra-light aircraft has been experimented by CNR on its structures on the Rhone. CNR’s 400 km of dikes are currently monitored by visual inspection. In addition to these inspections, photogrammetry by drones will be useful for monitoring the most sensitive sectors. The project was launched fifteen years ago, and the first evaluation was carried out in 2015. It showed that the drones could measure the crest of a dike with a precision of 5 cm, with several landmarks. The new objective will be to reach a centimetric precision with a minimum number of landmarks, i.e. not more than one landmark every 500 or 600 metres. Drone photogrammetry is proposed by specialised companies, engineering offices and surveying agencies, such as Sintégra (Isère) and Créocéan (Charente-Maritime).

Boréal: bio-calcification of earth structures by bacteria

The events of Xynthia in 2010 and Fukushima in 2011 demonstrated the challenge for societies to protect themselves against major hazards like floods and earthquakes. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions have nearly 3,000 km of dikes that protect areas with high stakes in human, industrial and agricultural terms, concentrated around large rivers: the Rhone, the Isère and the Durance.

Using an innovative and environmentally friendly technique, the Boréal project aims at strengthening the resistance of structures against the effects of internal erosion and earthquakes. It entails testing the application and the resistance of a biocalcification treatment (the formation of a biologically calcified deposit that conserves porosity, allowing water to flow freely) in a dike subjected to internal flows. This new methodology consists in carrying out within a few hours what it takes several million years for nature to do, by transforming sand into sandstone. It reinforces soils without the need to resort to impermeable curtain walls or grout injections. The aim is to ensure that the core of the dike treated resists internal erosion and earthquakes.

CNR’s locks: sensors for surveying the aging of lock gates

Vaucluse (84) – France

In June 2017, CNR signed a collaboration agreement with the CEA, bearing on, among other things, modelling the behaviour of lock gates and structures subjected to frequent and very high stresses when in use. This modelling is currently being applied to the gate of Avignon lock, with the aid of Morphosense, a start-up, and the CEA. The behaviour of the gate is monitored in real-time every time the chamber is filled or emptied, making it possible to map the normal deformations and then to define warning thresholds that will provide the operator of the site with a predictive maintenance tool. If the threshold is exceeded, the operator will be warned sufficiently early for them to take the appropriate safety measures.