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Effective implementation of ground penetrating radar (GPR) for condition assessment & monitoring of critical infrastructure components of bridges and highways.
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Effective implementation of ground penetrating radar (GPR) for condition assessment & monitoring of critical infrastructure components of bridges and highways.
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    Recently Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) started to explore use of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology to provide quantitative information for improved decision making and reduced operating costs. To take full advantage of the GPR capabilities, improved analysis techniques need to be developed and implemented. The objective of this study was to assist SHA engineers, technicians, and decision makers in their current effort to explore the use of GPR in assessing the condition of critical infrastructure components and to identify potential improvements in GPR data analysis. The research team closely interacted with representatives from selected divisions of the Office of Materials Technology (OMT) to identify potential GPR applications using existing equipment accessible to SHA, targeting critical high priority areas for analysis and improvement. In regards to pavement structures, a new methodology was suggested to improve the accuracy of GPR data analysis. The initial analysis and results indicated that Multi-scale Pavement GPR data Analysis (MPGA) has significant potential to add value and accuracy to pavement thickness data used in pavement management and rehabilitation analysis. The MPGA results indicate that pavement thickness data trends can be identified based on either automated or semi-automated procedures based on target variability levels of thickness uniformity, and thus can be used to efficiently evaluate pavement material layers. Similarly, for bridge deck analysis, techniques such as migration imaging (for concrete cover depth measurement applications among others) and Fourier analysis of GPR waveforms (for qualitative bridge deck moisture analysis) were used in addition to emerging techniques such as Short Time Fourier Transform analysis (for anticipated quantitative moisture analysis) for improving GPR data interpretation. Migration and Fourier techniques were illustrated corresponding to GPR data collected using a GPR array on selected bridge decks in the Salisbury, MD area. When applied appropriately, such techniques can provide more reliable analysis of bridge deck inspection than conventional means. In terms of precast concrete, this study has shown how GPR can be used to address several of the inspections needed in precast concrete production, including an evaluation of concrete cover depth, reinforcement location, and section thicknesses. The testing and demonstration showed significant potential for quality control using GPR.
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