Assessing Delamination of Concrete Bridge Decks with Aging in Arid Regions Using Nondestructive Testing Methods

Melissa Escalante, University of Texas at El Paso


Bridge decks usually experience deterioration at a more rapid pace than other infrastructure components due to the heavy traffic loads and environmental conditions that the deck sustains. Delamination within concrete bridge decks accelerates due to water and deicing salts penetrating the concrete; resulting in the corrosion of reinforcing steel. The corrosion of rebar may result in a fracture parallel to the surface of the concrete structure at the top of the reinforcement layer. The delamination is then subjected to expansion over a large span; risking the overall stability of the structural element. Health monitoring of concrete bridge decks is therefore necessary for determining the condition of structural elements and to prescribe appropriate preservation, repair, rehabilitation or replacement. Nondestructive testing (NDT) methods have shown promising results in assessing concrete bridge decks over large spans. NDT can provide infrastructure owners with potential tools for decision-making and aid in diagnosing the extent of damage, flaws or deterioration within a member. Many different NDT methods can be used in detecting and visualizing the presence of internal imperfections or anomalies, yielding material properties and enabling the measurement of geometric characteristics of structural components. In this study, an approach is presented to expand the knowledge and to understand better the advantages and limitations of four NDT methods: Portable Seismic Property Analyzer (PSPA), Ultrasonic Tomography (MIRA), Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and Electrical Resistivity for the detection of delamination in concrete bridge decks with aging. The outcome of this research study is useful for researchers in transportation infrastructure agencies to differentiate between different types of defects, to estimate the location and size of the defects from information obtained by different NDT methods, and for decision-making on existing transportation infrastructures. From the results presented in this study, the MIRA technology turned out to be the most promising tool.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Escalante, Melissa, "Assessing Delamination of Concrete Bridge Decks with Aging in Arid Regions Using Nondestructive Testing Methods" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI13812988.