|This fact sheet is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-052
Date: June 2011
Tools and Technologies
Many techniques used to assess bridge deck condition were discussed at the workshop, with an objective of keeping bridges open. These included the half-cell potential method, anode ladder system, ground penetrating radar, induction thermography, elastic waves, chain drag and hammer sounding methods, and impact echo devices. Other monitoring systems included sonar equipment to monitor scour and fiber optic sensors to monitor strain and temperature.
Jurgen Krieger, of Germany’s Federal Highway Research Institute, provided insight into techniques implemented on some of the 38,000 bridges in Germany, 60 percent of which were built before 1985. “Bridge inspection and management is very important under these conditions. We have to ensure all information from a bridge inspection is used to create the appropriate maintenance program,” explained Krieger. “Bridge inspectors in Germany have access to over 2,000 examples of typical damage and damage ratings. Additionally, there is a direct link from the inspection software to a database offering relevant nondestructive testing methods.”
Attendees were also given a detailed overview of bridge management in Japan, which has over 150,000 bridges with a span over 15 m (49 ft). Hitoshi Furata of Japan’s Kansai University explained the lack of budget to take care of Japan’s aging infrastructure. Ming Wang of Northeastern University then explained his research into roadway monitoring using traffic-embedded sensing. The project involves implementing state-of-the-art technology into vehicles to detect pavement condition at traffic speed, using tire-excited acoustic sensing and tire-pressure sensors.
Jonathan Porter of FHWA concluded the workshop, saying: “Several speakers picked out the severity and complexity of the problem—over 600,000 bridges, combined with an aging infrastructure, and less money for maintenance. However, all that is a rich opportunity for technology to do more with less, and faster.” Porter continued, “It is clear that there is not one tool for all problems. The solution will be a suite of multiple devices and sensors to build a comprehensive picture. The key is to enable decisionmaking and transition technology, tools, and techniques into practical solutions and high quality data.”
EAR Program Support
Traditionally researchers have relied on reading peer reviewed papers and attending conference presentations to learn about advanced research in their field, however the EAR Program seeks new methods for accelerating research. It can enable multiple institutions and fields to collaborate on NDE for highway structures through a virtual laboratory that promotes the use of standard testing samples, fully documents research processes, allows for sharing and reuse of research data, and provides analysis and visualization tools that can be applied to collected data. These types of collaborative research tools have had a dramatic impact moving research from science into applied technology.
Prior to the NDE workshop, the EAR Program sponsored a project entitled “Nondestructive Evaluation for Corrosion Detection in Reinforced Concrete Structures Incorporating Time-Resolved Thermography Combined with Three-Dimensional Microwave Imaging.” The project focused on reducing the estimated $121 billion per year spent on corrosion control methods and demonstrated the power of collaboration on critical and persistent research questions.
For more information on the EAR Program and NDE, contact Rebecca Curtis, NDE Laboratory Manager, at 202-493-3066 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hamid Ghasemi, Long-Term Bridge Performance Program Manager, at 202-493-3042 (email: email@example.com).
1“Highway Bridge Program: Condition of Nation’s Bridges Shows Limited Improvement, but Further Actions Could Enhance the Impact of Federal Investment,” Phillip R. Herr, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO-10-930T), Washington, DC, 2010, p.2.
Topics: research, exploratory advanced research, infrastructure, bridges, hydraulics, scour