Fast Reference‐free Crack Measurement (RACM) System in Transportation Infrastructures using Noncontact Ultrasound

Project Details
Author(s) Suyun Ham, University of Texas at Arlington
CTEDD Funding Year 2017 General RFP
Project Status Complete
UTC Funding $44,992.98
End Date August 31, 2018


The research objectives of this project are the maintenance of transportation infrastructure: i to develop and improve the reference-free crack measurement RACM hardware system for field applications, ii to develop a post-processing diagnostic framework, iii to develop monitoring system based on internet of things. In the research category, the reference-free crack measurement system is an innovative technique to improve system efficiency and better maintenance of existing infrastructure. In addition, the internet-of-things-based monitoring system is the upgraded monitoring system for infrastructure maintenances and performance management of transportation systems. Therefore, the major goal of the program is to develop cost effective crack measurement system and user interface monitoring platform. In the education category, since this technique is linked to civil engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science fields, the introduction of this technique in a class or training course will attract and educate both undergraduate and graduate students. In the technology transfer category, the goal of the program is to develop the measuring system based on wave backscattering to transfer this technique to inspection method of concrete structure.

Problem Statement

According to a 2017 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the infrastructure of the United States requires a 2.0 trillion investment to return it to good condition by 2025. Distributed microcracking and delaminated damage in our transportation system s concrete infrastructure has caused more deterioration by the cracks and more delamination by corrosion, adversely affecting the system components mechanical strength, stiffness and permeability. Although previous research identified that ultrasonic and other nondestructive approaches can characterize distributed damage content in inhomogeneous infrastructure, the methods are either insensitive to early stages low crack volumes of damage, not repeatable, or inconsistent. These methods have an inadequate contact system that cannot measure the damage quickly enough as they require a contact to the surface and a more sophisticated reference data system that can more readily respond to the nature of the heterogeneous aspects of the problem sites. This proposal offers a solution the form of a reference free acoustic crack measurement RACM system. The RACM system offers in situ or absolute damage index values. The in situ monitoring system does not need any control or reference data to assess the infrastructure. The RACM is also a fully contactless damage assessment Read more


In this research, the damage and defect detection system of concrete pavement is introduced by conducting laboratory and field tests. In addition, website-based and App-based monitoring platforms are introduced to allow a fast access to the test results using map-based location displayer. Although, the technique of wave backscattering shows high sensitivity in heterogeneous material such as concrete, it is proved that the backscattered energy method is the promised method to detect early age internal damage of heterogeneous materials. However, the more parameter studies about field environments and different concrete mixtures are required to reduce the sensitivity of backscattered energy method. The web- and App-based monitoring platforms are the promised method to manage any target of infrastructure in an age of high technology by performing real-time ..monitoring and managing the data.
The technology developed herein can lead to new capabilities for contactless testing and sensing that could enhance the capability for testing and imaging reference free large critical infrastructure systems such as dams, nuclear facilities and aircraft. Engineers and other practitioners will be given instructions on how to operate the system based on this project s final report, and their use of the system will upgrade current participation in transportation decision making. Through the techniques developed in this project, practitioners can improve the quality of transportation service and thereby maintain
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The deployment of inexpensive but high performance contactless (air coupled) ultrasonic sensors offers the potential to overcome some current limitations and to provide a pathway for automated rapid inspection of transportation infrastructures. This system will provide quantifiable cost and time effort benefits for better monitoring and better decision making, which will increase the infrastructure service life. The proposed RACM system s most important contribution is cutting the remediation costs of transportation concrete infrastructure through a more efficient detection and analysis system.

Downloadable Documents

Subjects#: Asset Management, Highways, Maintenance, Quantitative Analysis, Sensors, Technology, Transportation