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Thermographic Bridge Coating Inspection System

There are currently no large-area bridge coating inspection tools that provide quantitative information on bridge coating integrity. A reliable tool to evaluate bridge coatings prior to visible signs of damage could allow for better planning of maintenance and repairs. Repair of coating failure prior to visible indications can result in lower repair costs and can quantitatively define areas needing repair. Thermography is an ideal tool for coating inspection and is well-suited to large-area inspection. While thermography has been successfully used in other applications these current systems are too expensive, too complicated to operate, and are cumbersome to use as they consist of multiple separate components. There are presently no commercial systems that provide a fully-integrated thermographic inspection system suitable for bridge coatings. An easy to use and operate thermographic coating inspection system that is low-cost and accessible to the bridge inspection community and State Departments of Transportation is currently being developed. This paper discusses the development and initial field testing of this thermal-based bridge coating inspection system.

1. Fuchs, P.A. and S.B. Chase. “Active Thermographic Coating Inspection System,” NDE/NDT for Highways and Bridges: Structural Material Technology, The American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Columbus, OH. 2010.
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