Crack depth measurement in reinforced concrete using ultrasonic techniques
Arne, Kevin C.
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Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world, so the assessment of damage in concrete is critical from the point of view of both safety and cost. Of particular interest are macro cracks that extend through the concrete cover of the reinforcement, which can potentially expose the reinforcement to corrosive elements. The high density of scatterers such as aggregate and voids in concrete makes quantitative imaging with coherent ultrasound difficult. As an alternative, this research focuses on diffuse energy based ultrasonic methods rather than coherent ultrasonic methods for crack depth assessment. Two types of ultrasonic measurements were made on real cracks formed under four point bending: one that focuses on time of flight measurements from an impactor; while the other uses the arrival time of maximum energy in a diffuse field excited by an impulsive load from a transducer. Each of these ultrasonic techniques is used to interrogate a macro crack in a concrete beam, and the results are compared to determine their accuracy and robustness. The actual crack depth is determined using direct surface measurements and a destructive dye-injected approach with drilled cores. The results suggest that the diffusion method, using a maximum energy approach, more accurately estimates the crack than visual inspection and impact echo methods, which overestimate the depth.