Exova hits record test numbers in Italy's bid to save Venice from the sea

Mose DamnMOSE Damn Project, Venice

Exova, the global testing company, has marked a major engineering milestone by completing approximately 150,000 tests for MOSE, the ambitious infrastructure to defend Venice from flooding.

Launched in response to severe flooding in 1966, the project has gained momentum due to continually rising water levels and soil erosion.

Backed by the Italian Government, MOSE involves the construction of 78 large gates for Venice’s three inlets. Normally, the gates will lie on the sea bed but when flooding is forecast, compressed air can be pumped in, causing the barriers to rise and block the tide.

Exova’s lab in Padova, Italy became involved in the project in 2003 when its experts were commissioned to carry out characterisation tests on materials used for large infrastructure projects, such as fixed dams, outer breakwaters, harbours, quays, and banks.

Since then, Exova’s experts in Padova have completed an average of 1,200 tests per month over a nine year period on a range of materials and structures. In addition, Exova is undertaking non destructive testing on 26 cofferdams each weighing 15,000 tons with a volume of 28,800 cubic meters.

Currently, Exova is undertaking all testing work at Malamocco and Chioggia inlets, as well as being involved in the rebuilding of Venice Arsenale Nuovo or New Arsenal, where maintenance structures for steel parts of MOSE will be placed.
Some 15 Exova specialists are involved in the project, led by Tommaso Lombardo, a civil engineering laboratory manager in CTR Exova Padova, working to clients Grandi Lavori, Fincosit, Clodia and FIP.

Tommaso said: “This is just one of many flagship projects that Exova has been entrusted to test to robust standards. The MOSE project will safeguard’s Venice’s future and it has been a privilege that our experts are playing a vital role in achieving this.”

MOSE is scheduled to start in 2014-2015 with testing activity expected to end in first half of 2013.The tests include civil engineering materials characterization; concrete mix qualification; special steel qualification (including hinges and rings used for system mechanical fulcrums); non- destructive testing on cassons and basements of mobile bulkheads; standard tests both in situ and in a laboratory environment of concrete and carpentry steel.