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10/23/2012

Impact-Echo Testing for Bridge Stability

 
A new method allows for testing a bridge's structural integrity for danger and damage.

A team of BYU engineers has found that by listening to how a highway bridge sings in the rain they can determine serious flaws in the structure.

Employing a method called impact-echo testing, professors Brian Mazzeo and Spencer Guthrie have determined a way to diagnose the health of a bridge’s deck based on the acoustic footprint produced by a little bit of water.

Put simply, the sound created when a droplet makes impact can reveal hidden dangers in the bridge.

“There is a difference between water hitting intact structures and water hitting flawed structures,” Mazzeo says. “We can detect things you can’t see with a visual inspection; things happening within the bridge itself.”

The study presents a more efficient and cost-effective method to address the mounting safety concerns over bridge corrosion and aging in the U.S.

While impact-echo testing for bridges is nothing new to engineers, the BYU researchers are the first to use water droplets to produce acoustic responses. Current testing methods rely on solid objects such as hammers and chains.

The idea is to detect delamination, or the separation of structural layers, in a concrete bridge deck. The most common method involves dragging a chain over a bridge and marking spots where dull, hollow sound is produced.

However, this method can take hours to carry out for a single bridge and requires lane closures that come with additional complications.

“The infrastructure in the U.S. is aging, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done," Guthrie says. "We need to be able to rapidly assess bridge decks so we can understand the extent of deterioration and apply the right treatment at the right time.”

The study results, published in the October issue of Non-Destructive Testing and Evaluation International, could help transform deck surveys into rapid, automated and cost efficient exercises.

The method is as simple as dropping droplets of water on the material and recording the sound. The acoustic response indicates the health of the concrete.

“The response gives you an indication of both the size and the depth of the flaw,” Mazzeo says.

Mazzeo says the method could be used to test materials beyond bridges, including aircraft composites, which are susceptible to delamination.

Though the current research is preliminary, the researchers envision a day where bridge deck surveys would take only a few moments.

“We would love to be able to drive over a bridge at 25 or 30 mph, spray it with water while we’re driving and be able to detect all the structural flaws on the bridge,” Mazzeo says. “We think there is a huge opportunity, but we need to keep improving on the physics.”

 


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Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

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Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
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Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 


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Fort Carson in Colorado is well on its way to reaching the goal of net-zero energy by 2020. 

09/19/2014

New regulations from the DOE would improve commercial air conditioner efficiency by as much as 30%. 

09/18/2014

A new study suggests that the installed cost of photovoltaic solar power continues to drop in the U.S.

09/17/2014

A new technology developed at Rice University effectively deices glass surfaces while remaining transparent for radio frequency transmission.

09/16/2014

The USGBC and American Chemistry Council have put aside their differences to work together on new improvements to the LEED certification system. 

09/15/2014

Researchers have developed a new process to help cloud computing systems use less energy while continuing to provide high levels of data services.

09/12/2014

Researchers have found the main factors that influence the amount and type of building damage caused by various types of salts. 

09/11/2014

A new study has demonstrated that proactive ergonomic training can decrease worker discomfort and increase productivity. 

09/10/2014

The University of Utah has upgraded its historic Dumke Health Professions Education building to save an impressive 40% on energy costs.

09/09/2014

Hoping to build on LEED's success, PEER evaulates the performance and modernization of electric grids. 

09/08/2014

The USGBC has developed a new tool to help streamline the LEED certification process. 

09/05/2014

Researchers have developed a fluorescent lamp that emits Wi-Fi signals to allow connectivity throughout buildings.

09/04/2014

Tests show effective measures for reducing earthquake damage to computer servers. 

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