Comparison of Dynamic Young's Modulus of Thin Concrete Disks to Stress Wave-Based Nondestructive Evaluation Findings

Stress wave–based nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques are frequently used for insitu evaluation of concrete. Stress wave velocity in a material is related to Young’s modulus of elasticity. Cores for in-situ compressive strength are subject to a minimum length-to-diameter ratio requirement that enforce large specimen sizes. Thin circular disks sawn from cylinders or cores are widely used in measurement of chloride or air permeability of concrete. While these methods provide useful information on concrete properties with depth, the capability of measuring changes in mechanical properties such as elastic Young’s modulus in small depth increments is of value to both researchers and consulting engineers conducting condition assessment or NDE, particularly when damage gradients exist. Changes in properties over relatively small depths may be undetected otherwise due to limitations of test method, equipment, or imposed specimen size. This study presents applications of Young’s modulus of thin concrete disks to structural assessment projects involving damage and damage gradients. In-situ nondestructive ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) testing was used in identification of affected areas. Young’s modulus of thin concrete disks was used in interpretation of the NDE results and provided an improved understanding of the extent of damage that was indicated using NDE. Two different case studies are discussed: exposure to fire and exposure to thermal shock and cryogenic temperatures. The use of thin disks enabled determination of mechanical properties of relatively thin layers of concrete and, therefore, provided a means to quantitatively assess the extent of damage gradients. Confirmation of NDE results using modulus data and analytical modeling using the relationship between Young’s modulus and pulse velocity provided improved understanding of NDE findings reducing uncertainty in engineering analysis and improving repair recommendations.

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