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InfraredThermographic and Radar Testing of Polymer-Wrapped Composites

A major application of composite materials in the reinforced concrete industry is to wrap columns with fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite fabric, which results in an increase in the columns’ axial compressive strength and ductility due to the confinement provided by the wrap. The presence of debonds between the FRP wrap and the underlying column surface inhibits the proper confinement of the column by the composite wrap. Therefore, it is critical to use nondestructive testing (NDT) to detect the subsurface debonds after the initial wrapping, as well as for inservice monitoring. Detection of these debonds at early stages of their formation can greatly assist in taking timely, remedial action. This paper discusses the use of infrared thermography and ground penetrating radar for subsurface debond detection of concrete cylinders wrapped with either carbon or glass fiber wraps (CFRP or GFRP). These two NDT techniques were chosen because of their capability of rapid data acquisition in the field. The applicability of these techniques for the detection of air- and water-filled debonds under CFRP and GFRP wraps are also discussed and compared.

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