The assessment of service-proven quay walls subject to corrosion-induced degradation is inherently a time-dependent reliability problem. Two major challenges are the modelling of corrosion and taking into account the decrease of epistemic uncertainty throughout the quay wall's service life. The main objective of this study is to examine the probability of failure, despite successful past performance, when the quay wall is subject to corrosion and randomly imposed variable loads. The development of the annual failure rate is modelled using crude Monte Carlo and by performing a first-order system reliability analysis. The annual failure rates found for service-proven quay walls vary over time. For those with successful service histories and subject to low corrosion rates, the highest reliability indices are observed in the first year of the service life, whereas with higher corrosion rates the final year prevails. In general, it seems more practical to evaluate reliability on an annual basis rather than over longer time periods, since the latter will introduce an iterative procedure to determine the wall's remaining lifetime. The key findings of this study can be crucial for the lifetime extension of existing quay walls, and presumably also for other service-proven geotechnical structures subject to corrosion.
- Reliability index
- Service-proven quay wall
- Time-dependent reliability analysis