The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 096 [Completed (IDEA)]

Algorithm for Using Ultrasound of MHz Frequency for Testing Concrete
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Inam Jawed

This project developed and demonstrated the feasibility of a nondestructive ultrasonic technique based on modified split spectrum processing (SSP) and its rationalization using a statistical spectral histogram technique (SHT) for field evaluation of highway concrete structures. SSP enhances the signal-to-noise ratio by reducing the intensive background noise accompanying high-frequency ultrasound in concrete, and SSP rationalization eliminates the time-consuming trial and error approach, greatly improving the method for practical applications. Following the selection, evaluation and optimization of the initial instrumentation, a new algorithm was developed that allowed automatic selection of optimum or near optimum parameters for split spectrum processing and performing the split spectrum processing using the selected parameters. A software system was developed that allowed spectral histogram analysis for the direct determination of the frequency region without trial and error. The software was successfully tested for several cases including the determination of thickness and internal defects of a concrete slab. The combination of SSP with SHT reduced the noise thereby significantly improving the interpretation of the received high frequency ultrasound. Also, the computerized form made the application simple and rapid. The improved process can further be extended to produce two-dimensional images for improved diagnosis of concrete structures. The researchers are in contact with Pennsylvania and Delaware DOTs and will work with these and other highway agencies for field testing and implementation. The researchers are also working with the American Concrete Institute’s Committee 228 on Nondestructive Testing of Concrete to publicize their innovation.

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