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NDT-CE 2022 - The International Symposium on Nondestructive Testing in Civil Engineering Zurich, Switzerland, August 16-18, 2022

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Civil engineering, Characterization and Evaluation of Materials, Acoustic emission, Ultrasonic testing


Concrete structures are invaluable assets to a society and managing them efficiently and effectively can be supported by information gathered through structural health monitoring (SHM). In this paper, a combined approach based on passive, i.e., acoustic emission (AE), and active, i.e., ultrasonic stress wave (USW) monitoring techniques for application to concrete structures is proposed and evaluated. While AE and USW are based on the same underlying physics, i.e., wave motion in solids, they differ fundamentally with respect to the nature of the source. For the former, external stimuli such as mechanical loads or temperature cause the rapid release of energy from initially unknown locations. As a result, AE events are unique and cannot be repeated. For the latter, a known source at a known location is employed at a specified time. This approach is thus controlled and repeatable. It is argued that a combination of these two techniques has the potential to provide a more comprehensive picture of ongoing fracture processes, damage progression, as well as slowly occurring aging and degradation mechanisms. This combined approach does thus promise new opportunities to support condition assessment of concrete structures. After providing an overview and comparison of the two techniques, results, and observations from a full-scale laboratory experiment and an in-service bridge monitoring study are discussed to demonstrate the promise of the proposed combined monitoring approach. Finally, suggestions for further work are presented.


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