U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


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Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory

 

Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Laboratory Facilities

Specimen Library | Computer Lab

The Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Laboratory provides a facility for the development and testing of NDE technologies. The technologies researched at the NDE Laboratory include conventional/phased array ultrasonics, conventional/advanced eddy current, acoustic emission, ground penetrating radar, infrared thermography, and impact echo. The NDE Laboratory also includes an 11.8-by-3.6-meter structural loading floor used to construct scaled models to represent field conditions and use actual bridge elements or specimens to conduct research and testing. In addition to functioning as a staging area for research conducted at test bridges, the laboratory space is equipped with storage and test setup areas.

The image shows a twin-steel plate bridge girder testing system. Two parallel steel girders are horizontal to the floor of the testing area. Testing apparatus is supported by a framework of three vertical girders connected by cross girders.
Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory.

This photo shows another view of the Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory. The ground floor of the laboratory includes storage cabinets and work spaces. On top of one cabinet is a computer screen. Offices are located on the second floor of the laboratory, with windows on the second floor where researchers can view the ground floor below.
Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory Work Area.

This photo shows the Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory, There are metal cabinets and drawers, and a portable workbench on wheels in this photograph.
Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory.

This photo shows another view of the previous image. The photo includes metal cabinets, drawers, and a portable workbench on the right side, and a desk with computer equipment on the left side. In the center of the photo, there is another workbench where supplies and a computer monitor are located.
Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory.

Specimen Library

An extensive collection of component specimens is an important part of the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Laboratory. Component specimens are small sections of highway structures (both with and without defects) that have been removed from inservice bridges or that are manufactured to precise measurements. The collection of component specimens is continually evolving as specimens become available from decommissioned bridges, are purchased from qualified vendors, or are manufactured in the NDE Laboratory.

In addition to a variety of specimens, this collection includes specimens with different configurations in steel bridges. These specimens have different features of joint geometries, material thicknesses, coatings, and weld defects. The inventory includes a number of butt-weld specimens with complete joint penetration (CJP) groove welds, butt-welds with well-bonded bridge coatings, T-joint specimens with fillet weld butt joints, and reentrant corner joint specimens with fillet welds. Engineered cracks are embedded in these specimens and a variety of crack geometries are represented.

The photo is a three-dimensional view of t. Two rectangular metal plates of equal width that are joined by a welded tee joint. The plates are perpendicular to each other, an edge of one plate being welded to the plane of the other.
Typical Tee Joint Specimen with Fillet Welds

The photo is an overhead, three-dimensional view t. Two rectangular metal plates.  Two rectangular metal plates of equal width are joined by a welded tee joint. The plates are perpendicular to each other, an edge of one plate being welded to the plane of the other.
Typical Tee Joint Specimen with Fillet Welds

Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory’s Computer Lab

The computing capability of the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Laboratory consists of two individual units (computing boxes) clustered together. Each box has 8 dual processors (or 16 cores). Accordingly, the two-unit cluster is a parallel facility with 32 cores. These parallel computers are connected through the Internet II national network to the cluster supercomputer (1024 CPUs) in the Transportation Research and Analysis Computing Center (TRACC) located in the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). The computing machine is loaded with a massive parallel processing (MPP) version of a finite element program called LS-DYNA and Finite Element Modeling And Post processing (FEMAP) by UGS Corp for finite element modeling, analysis, and simulation of complex real-world problems. Research using these computing facilities has been focused on advanced computing and large-scale dynamics simulation of highway bridges. The work includes large bridge model dynamic response analyses, simulations of traffic flow loads, wind-rain loads for cable-stayed bridges, meshless computation for crack detections in highway structures, nonlinear dynamics simulations for chaos control of cable-stayed bridge vibrations, as well as data analyses covering a wide range of advanced NDE tasks.

 

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101