Decommissioned Bridges: Ideal Test Objects for Demonstrating the Capabilities of Nondestructive Testing Methods

With ageing infrastructure – a topic that affects all modes of transport equally – the demand for NDT-CE methods to analyze engineering structures should be increasing dramatically. But unlike in other industrial sectors, where NDT is a generally accepted inspection tool, NDT-CE investigations are only rarely commissioned. Decision makers are often not sufficiently aware of the capabilities and limitations of NDT-CE methods. Therefore, in general more information about NDT-CE needs to be published, and in particular more practical demonstrations are needed. For the development and optimization of NDT-CE procedures as well as for the evaluation of their theoretical performance, specifically designed test specimens are beneficial. For their design it’s possible to concentrate on the particular test task. But if the capabilities (and limitations) of NDT-CE procedures are to be demonstrated to decision makers responsible for the structures, something more realistic is needed. Although it is possible to construct highly realistic test specimens – they are still specimens and not real structures. And the manufacturing costs of these specimens are directly related to the degree of realism. Decommissioned structures – in particular decommissioned bridges – (which will later be replaced) or components taken from them have proven to be ideal testing objects. They’re real, they’re available, and during their demolition it's possible to use destructive methods to verify the NDT-CE results - which wouldn't be possible at bridges under service. During the past years, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) funded several investigation projects at decommissioned bridges which were supervised by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt). Their outcome will be summarized in this paper.



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