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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