Finite element simulation of crack depth measurements in concrete using diffuse ultrasound
Seher, Matthias Eugen
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Surface-breaking cracks pose a serious threat to the service life of concrete structures and health monitoring is presently conducted by a visual inspection method, yielding a potential risk to safety. Diffuse ultrasonic techniques have shown their potential as an ultrasonic technique for measuring crack depth in concrete and are currently under development. In this research, the finite element method (FEM) is employed to model the ultrasound diffusion in a concrete specimen. The objectives are to use the commercial finite element (FE) tool Ansys to develop the finite element model of a concrete specimen and verify the applicability of the model by comparing with an analytic solution and experiment data. Further, various crack types are analyzed with the FE model in order to gain physical insight into the interpretation of experimental measurements. The results of this research suggest that a preliminary knowledge of the cracking process is required to correctly interpret the measured impulse responses for an unknown crack geometry, as the impulse response expresses the response of the shortest path through a system of cracks between source and receiver. Moreover, the impulse response can carry some ambiguity, as certain crack types are not uniquely determined.