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The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 220 [Active (IDEA)]

Bridge Deck Sealant Monitor: Thermal Sealcheck

  Project Data
Funds: $125,000
Staff Responsibility: Inam Jawed
Research Agency: Fuchs Consulting, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Paul Fuchs
Fiscal Year: 2019

This project is aimed at developing and evaluating a new nondestructive technology to assess the effectiveness of deck sealers using time-lapse thermography. Work Stage 1 of the project will focus on preparing the measurement procedures and performing necessary initial laboratory validation. Working with State DOTs, current sealing procedures will be evaluated. Input will be sought from a broader group of customers to better understand the sealing procedures in many different applications.  The specific objectives are to evaluate the decision-making process for application of sealants and to design the time-lapse thermal measurement procedure to fit into the existing processes. Measurement process for the proposed method will be developed. This measurement process will be based on the application of a thermal modeling process.  This thermal modeling process fits actual measurements to models and simulations of the process.  Measurements and modelling will account for environmental conditions (wind, ambient temperatures, …).  This includes the process of application of controlled water to the bridge deck. A limited set of laboratory tests will be performed to identify needed algorithm parameters.  Tests will be conducted on small-scale specimens and are not intended to replicate a full-scale bridge.  The tests will be intended to measure absorption rates and thermal properties of materials.  Existing IR-UTD equipment will be used for testing.  Small-scale specimens and sealant materials will be obtained from State DOT partners. Work in Stage will involve field validation of the measurement procedure. These tests will be conducted in collaboration with the Missouri DOT).  Three separate tests will be conducted.  One test will be on an unsealed bridge deck.  A second test will be on a sealed deck.  The third test will be performed on a partially sealed deck.  Missouri DOT can provide access to an out-of-service bridge deck that could be used for this purpose (i.e. apply sealer to portions of the deck). The final report will provide all the relevant data, findings, and conclusions along with recommendations on how to use the developed technique for monitoring the effectiveness of bridge deck sealants.

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