Ultrasonic monitoring of full-scale load experiments

Previous work has shown that ultrasonic monitoring using externally applied or embedded transducers and imaging methods based on coda wave interferometry are able to detect subtle changes in concrete elements. In this study, a limited number of embedded transducers has been used to monitor changes in several 12 m long two-span concrete beams subjected to point or linear loads until failure. The ultrasonic results showed the high sensitivity to stress changes and the nonlinear character of the associated effects. However, the ultrasonic features showed a very good correlation to several conventional monitoring parameters. For higher loads (significant amount of cracking), the technique had to be modified to cope with large wave velocity variations and high decorrelation compared to the reference signal. Using a very simple imaging procedure, the 2D stress field inside the beam has been visualized including inhomogeneities and artifact at places where cracking occurred at higher loads. The technique has the potential to be included in real time monitoring systems.

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