Fully Automated Visualization of Concrete Bridge Deck Condition from GPR Data

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is one of the most commonly used technologies for condition assessment of concrete bridge decks. However, there have been no fully automated algorithms to visualize the data collected with this technique. In such context, the current paper presents a method for a full automation of GPR data visualization and analysis. Based on the background removal, depth correction, synthetic aperture focusing technique (SAFT), and interpolation algorithms, this automated method produces a plan view map of amplitude of GPR signals. In the obtained map, two types of information are observed at the same time. First, as the strongest reflectors of electromagnetic energy, rebars will appear as the most visible. Second, the areas of corrosive environment and, thus, likely corrosion, will be detected as having low amplitude rebar reflections. As a proof of concept, the proposed method was implemented for two bare concrete bridge decks in the United States. In both cases, the results obtained were excellent where the maps pinpointed the areas affected by corrosion. These areas were confirmed by other methods of evaluation, namely electrical resistivity (ER) and half-cell potential (HCP). With the demonstrated performance, the proposed method is expected to be an excellent alternative to the available methods of GPR data evaluation and visualization. In the future, it should be improved to provide an indication of corrosion severity/probability at each deck location.



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