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Application of non-destructive testing to evaluate unknown foundations for Pennsylvania bridges.
  • Published Date:
    2013-08-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-19.59 MB]


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Application of non-destructive testing to evaluate unknown foundations for Pennsylvania bridges.
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  • Corporate Creators:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
    FHWA-PA-2013-003-TEM 002
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  • Abstract:
    Unknown bridge foundations present a unique challenge to Departments of Transportation (DOT) across the country since

    foundation characteristics are a necessary input to assess scour vulnerability and to develop appropriate scour countermeasures.

    A number of non-destructive testing techniques have evolved over time to address this challenge and evaluate unknown

    foundation type and geometry. The most comprehensive study of NDT methods for unknown foundations was performed as part of

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 21-05 in 2001. Since NCHRP 21-05 other case studies have

    expanded the literature and further advancements in computer software and hardware have improved NDT capabilities and

    reliability for unknown foundation evaluation. In particular, P-wave reflection imaging has the potential to provide higher resolution

    data and significantly more detail regarding the subsurface in both the laboratory and the field.

    An ultrasonic P-wave reflection imaging system was investigated in this study as a viable NDT method to assess unknown

    foundations. The P-wave system was originally developed to image large scale soil models in the laboratory and to image the

    profile of vertically embedded structural elements such as foundations. The P-wave system was utilized in a field testing program

    to image the vertical profile of foundations at two bridge sites in southeastern Pennsylvania. Site selection, characteristics of the

    foundations tested, and the site soil conditions are summarized. The final foundation depths were unknown to the research team

    at the sites, which resulted in a true blind study and simulated the unknown foundation problem. The ultrasound probe was

    lowered in a PVC-cased borehole alongside the foundation to generate and record P-wave signals. The resulting data was plotted

    to construct an image and predict foundation characteristics. Multiple NDT techniques including Parallel Seismic, Borehole

    Magnetometer, and Borehole Radar were also performed at the sites in conjunction with the P-wave testing. The resulting data

    and interpretation of foundation characteristics are compared between all methods.

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