Microwave Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging for
Nondestructive Evaluation of Mechanically Stabilized
Publication: Publication Date: 1 February 2017Testing Method:
Mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls are
advantageous over gravity and cantilever retaining
walls in terms of cost effectiveness, construction
time, and tolerance to differential settlement.
However, voids and moisture changes behind
mechanically stabilized earth walls have previously
led to distress and failure, and effective nondestructive
evaluation tools for their detection are
yet to be developed. In this study, a wideband
(1–4 GHz) microwave synthetic aperture radar
imaging technique was employed to generate 2D
slice images of a mechanically stabilized earth wall
system at various depths. Two 1.52 × 1.46 × 0.178 m
reinforced concrete wall panels with backfill sand
were investigated. The effects of surface roughness,
voids, and moisture change were investigated.
The effect of change in moisture content behind
the wall and in a 350 × 250 × 76 mm sandbox
was clearly detected. Two foam blocks to simulate
voids, measuring 127 × 127 × 51 mm and
254 × 254 × 51 mm, respectively, were also
successfully located and imaged. The proposed
and implemented imaging technique was proven
to be robust and a promising technique for
detecting voids and moisture changes behind
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