Detection and Assessment of Structural Flaws in Concrete Bridges with NDT Methods

Researchers investigated the applicability of various nondestructive testing (NDT) methods on full-scale concrete bridge structures, including ultrasonic pulse velocity tomography and the impact-echo method. The combination of the two methods enabled researchers to three-dimensionally evaluate material consistency and locate flaws or regions of deterioration within structural members with a new level of efficiency. Although research involving NDT methods has been conducted for many years, the use of NDT methods for primary investigation of full-scale structural elements is not typically performed. In this study, the investigation of bridge structures for flaws and damage resulted in the discovery of a previously undetected yet recurring form of damage, which led investigators to suspect a design flaw. The results of the ultrasonic pulse velocity tomography enabled researchers to assess the actual cause of the damage, which allowed the formulation of recommendations for the repair and redesign of the defective structural elements.

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