U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-124
Date: April 2005
Lab & Field Testing of AUT Systems for Steel Highway Bridges
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The need for quality control and quality assurance of welds in the fabrication of steel bridge structures has led to the development of a variety of nondestructive inspection techniques. For many years, radiographic testing (RT) has been the preferred nondestructive inspection method used to ensure the quality of butt welds in the fabrication of steel plates for bridge girders. The major advantage of RT has been the capability of producing a radiograph that serves as a permanent record of the inspection. However, the significant health hazards associated with the use of radiographic methods have long been a concern.
Recent advances in computers and ultrasonic technology have led to the development of automated ultrasonic testing (AUT) techniques that produce three-dimensional images of internal conditions in the weld. The AUT image can serve as a permanent record of the inspection and allows for subjective reviews of the inspection findings. Since AUT uses ultrasonic waves, there are minimal health concerns with this method.
This report presents the findings of a study initiated by the Federal Highway Administration's Nondestructive Evaluation Validation Center (NDEVC) to evaluate the effectiveness and viability of automated ultrasonic testing techniques as a replacement for radiographic testing methods for the inspection of butt welds during fabrication of steel plates for bridge girders.
Paul Teng, Director
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
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Topics: research, infrastructure, structures
Keywords: research, structures, NDE, ultrasonic, inspection, automated ultrasonic testing, AUT, auto UT, bridge fabrication inspection, butt weld, butt joint, steel bridge, and radiographic testing
TRT Terms: research, infrastructure, Facilities, Structures