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Deterioration Modelling and Performance Assessment of Protection Systems/ Structures against Natural Risks: Application to Monitoring and Preventive Maintenance of Torrent Checkdams

Thesis by Nour CHAHROUR

Thesis / Innovation, Research

PhD Graduate - October 2021



Christophe BERENGUER (GIPSA-lab, (Christophe[dot]Berenguer[at]grenoble-inp[dot]fr))
Jean-Marc TACNET (ETNA Team/INRAE-Grenoble, (jean-marc[dot]tacnet[at]inrae[dot]fr))


This Phd project has merged several disciplines in order to provide a contribution for solving the key issue of optimizing maintenance solutions related to critical protection structures implemented in mountains. A new dynamic decision-support approach is proposed for comparing maintenance strategies over the lifetime of these structures while considering dependencies and cascading effects. This methodology builds bridges between approaches classically used for technological and natural risks coping with information imperfection consisting in imprecise data, uncertain raw data and in expert knowledge. It has led to the development of new deterioration models for civil engineering structures, integrating interdependencies between structures within a network. The developed process couples multi-scale hydraulic analysis (from global bed evolution to check dams’ local scouring analysis), civil engineering approaches (stability analysis) and uncertainty analysis to assess failure states. Physics-based models are themselves coupled with reliability-based models (SPNs, CBM) in order to propose and justify transition laws involved in the stochastic degradation process. This produces an innovative but also generic, versatile solution for other complex interdependent critical infrastructures.
The PhD defense took place on October 25, 2021.


  1. N. Chahrour, M. Nasr, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, Deterioration modeling and maintenance assessment using physics-informed stochastic Petri nets: Application to torrent protection structures, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 2021, 107524, ISSN 0951-8320,
  2. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, (2021). Deterioration Modelling and Preventive Maintenance of Critical Torrential Protection Structures towards Improved Resilience – A Petri Net based Approach. Chapter in Resilience Engineering and Modelling of Networked Infrastructure, ESReDA Project Group. ⟨hal-03408080⟨
  3. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, Reliability and Maintenance Efficacy Assessment of Torrent Protection Measures under Information Imperfection. 31st European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2021, Sep 2021, Angers, France.
  4. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, Cascade Effect Analysis in Torrential Context for Prioritizing Check Dams Maintenance strategies, 67th Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS), 2021, Orlando, Florida, US. ⟨hal-03262677⟨
  5. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, Cascading Effect Analysis in Torrential Hazard Context for Prioritizing Check Dams Maintenance Strategies. The 11th IMA International Conference on Modelling in Industrial Maintenance and Reliability MIMAR, June – July 2021 (Online).
  6. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, C. Folleau, C. Vinuesa, Aide à la Décision pour la Maintenance Préventive des Ouvrages de Protection Contre les Risques Naturels en Montagne, Lambda Mu 22 (e-congrès) - 22ème Congrès de Maîtrise des Risques et de Sûreté de Fonctionnement, Institut pour la Maîtrise des Risques, Oct 2020, Le Havre (e-congrès), France. pp.490-499. ⟨hal-03029180⟨
  7. N. Chahrour, S. Hariri, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, A Modeling Framework for Efficacy Assessment and Preventive Maintenance of Torrential Protection Works. 29th European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2019, Sep 2019, Hannover, Germany. pp.444-451, ⟨10.3850/978-981-11-2724-3_0327-cd⟨. ⟨hal-02318144⟨
  8. N. Chahrour, S. Hariri, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer, Degradation Analysis and Preventive Maintenance Modelling and Assessment for Improved Resilience of Critical Infrastructures - Application to Torrent Checkdams. 56th ESReDA Seminar On Critical Services continuity, Resilience and Security, May 2019, Linz, Austria. Paper #11 - 12 p. ⟨hal-02320794⟨
  9. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer. Risk Management and Resilience Assessment of Protection Works against Natural Hazards in Mountains: Petri Net based Approach for Prioritizing Preventive Maintenance Strategies. 10th conference of the international society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, Oct 2019, Nice, France. ⟨hal-02321266⟨
  10. N. Chahrour, J.-M. Tacnet, Ch. Bérenguer(2020). Maintenance Decision Support of Torrent Protection Structures Subjected to Natural Hazards. European Safety and Reliability Association. ESRA Newsletter September 2020, page 8.


  • PhD Student Grenoble, France Oct. 2018-Present
    Risk@Univ-Grenoble-Alpes / Doctoral School: EEATS
    Gipsa lab - Inrae Grenoble
  • Master 2 Hydraulic and Civil Engineering Grenoble, France 2017-2018 Institut polytechnique de Grenoble INP – ENSE3
  • Diploma in Civil Engineering Lebanese University, Faculty of Engineering Beirut, Lebanon 2013-2018


  • TENEVIA Meylan-France Feb 2018 – July 2018
    • Hydraulic Engineering Internship
  • Directorate of Engineering - Lebanese Army Beirut-Lebanon July 2017- Aug 2017
    • Civil Engineering Office Internship
      Consolidated Engineering Company Beirut-Lebanon Aug 2016- Sep 2016 S.A.L - Khatib & Alami Civil Engineering Site Internship


  • Arabic(Native)
  • English (advanced)
  • French (Intermediate)


  • Programming languages: C, R, Latex
  • GRIF-Workshop
  • Robot Structural Analysis
  • Etabs
  • AutoCAD (2D & 3D)

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Author(s) : 

Video presentation

Decision support for the preventive maintenance of protection works against natural risks in the mountains

Deterioration Modelling of protection Structures against Natural Risks


  • IMechE Safety and Reliability Group prize for Best Contribution by Young Professional - 11th MIMAR conference, 2021

  • Best Poster presentation (9th place) - 10th IDRIM conference, 2019

  • Best presentation - PhD Student day - Doctoral School EEATS, 2019


Informations complémentaires

Major contributions

  • Proposing a physics-based model that models the time-dependent state-evolution of protection structures when being subjected to torrential phenomena considering cascade effect;
  • Developing a stochastic deterioration and maintenance model using stochastic Petri net tools (SPNs) in order to support maintenance decision-making of protection structures considering economic aspects;
  • Analyzing the performance/behavior of different types of protection structures (e.g. check dams, retention dams) using the developed modeling approach;
  • Propagating uncertainty within the deterioration and maintenance model and performing a sensitivity analysis in order to assess the effect of information imperfection on made decisions.

Submitted on November 24, 2023

Updated on November 24, 2023