Comparison of Bridge Deck Analysis Techniques Using Manual and Automated Methods

Current bridge deck condition assessments using ground penetrating radar (GPR) usually has an experienced consultant collect and manually post-process substructure layering information from B-scans. However, very recently, state agencies have shown significant interest in using GPR on a more regular basis and are seeking guidance to do so. The risk of a subjective analysis is the misdiagnosis of the deck condition leading to either unnecessary repairs, or overlooked damaged areas. In order to demonstrate that these data collection and postprocessing procedures can be minimally subjective, this paper compares those processes completed by two individuals. Additionally, this paper compares the results of manual and automated post-processing procedures to show that additional tools are available to help implement the use of this technology. Two individuals collected data separately, using ground coupled GPR systems with different frequency antennas from a reinforced concrete validation slab at Rutgers University, which included individually selecting system parameters. Later, those individuals post-processed and analyzed both data sets to uncover damage at the top rebar level (corrosion). The visual results are displayed in plan-view color contour plots. In order to understand the subjectivity of the manual post-processing and interpretation steps, and the ability of newly developed automated algorithms for these processes, the contour plots have been qualitatively compared and clearly demonstrate significant agreement.


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