• 16 Dec 2020
      • News,

Concrete Testing: The 3 Most Innovative Investigation Techniques

While the preservation of civil heritage used to be of interest primarily to professionals in the field, the dramatic events of recent years have turned it into a topic of public debate, raising general awareness about the fact that structural aging and degradation of buildings are closely linked to the safety of structures and people.

Preservation of heritage, as we have already explained, and the management of aging-related risks involve various monitoring activities, among which non-destructive testing plays a crucial role.

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In this article, among all the non-destructive testing methods for civil engineering, we will delve into concrete testing and introduce you to the most innovative tools available on the market today.

Concrete Testing: Concrete Degradation

Concrete ages, meaning its durability, defined as the preservation of its physical and mechanical properties, can be compromised by various exposure factors, both natural and man-made, internal and external. These factors include frost, thaw cycles, seawater, fire, erosion, abrasion, impacts, vibrations, unexpected loads, and more.

Concrete degradation not only affects the performance of the material exposed to internal and external environmental agents but also involves reinforcing steel.
Reinforcing steel undergoes an electrochemical process known as oxidation. The difference in electrical potential between the concrete and the steel reinforcement or the penetration of water generate volumetric expansion phenomena in the metal elements, which also damage the cement paste, leading to dangerous cracks.

It is evident that the guarantee of durability is closely related to maintenance and diagnostics. Throughout its lifespan, a concrete structure must undergo non-destructive testing to collect data on material degradation and the condition of steel elements.

Concrete Testing: Ultrasonic Tomography

Ultrasonic tomography allows for deep scanning of concrete using short pulses of elastic waves. This method enables the identification and localization of reinforcements, cracks, voids, and other types of discontinuities within the material.

Ultrasonic Tomography: A1040 MIRA 3D

Novatest’s A1040 MIRA 3D is a low-frequency, high-penetration ultrasonic tomograph that provides real-time 3D imaging.
A1040 MIRA 3D is the best tool for ultrasonic tomographic investigations of concrete. It allows for the localization of reinforcing bars and other elements beyond the layers of reinforcement, detects joint defects and material voids, estimates their position and dimensions, and measures thicknesses.

Would you like to learn more about the technical features and benefits of A1040 MIRA 3D by Novatest? Request a free consultation now!

Concrete Testing: Ultrasonic Investigations

Ultrasonic testing is a non-destructive investigation technique that determines the velocity of ultrasonic pulses in concrete to estimate its strength.
Two probes are used in ultrasonic testing: one serves as a transmitter, and the other as a receiver. The ratio between the distance traveled by the pulses and the time taken to cover that distance represents the measure of the ultrasonic wave’s velocity.

This methodology also allows for the detection of material defects such as voids and cracks. Ultrasonic pulses, emitted by the transmitting transducer, pass through the object under examination and undergo refraction and reflection in the presence of discontinuities.

When combined with the sclerometer test, which measures compressive strength, ultrasonic testing forms the so-called SonReb Method. This method utilizes ultrasonic measurement and rebound index measurement to characterize the mechanical properties of concrete structures, surpassing the limitations of each individual test for evaluating compressive strength.

Ultrasound investigations: A1410 Pulsar

A1410 Pulsar by Novatest is an ultrasonic velocity meter used for assessing the quality of concrete, load capacity, porosity and cracking, and conservation status.

Would you like to learn more about the technical features and benefits of A1410 Pulsar by Novatest? Request a free consultation now!

Concrete Testing: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Investigations

The Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) method is based on the reflection of electromagnetic waves and has found extensive use in non-destructive structural investigations of concrete. GPR allows for the investigation of the internal characteristics of a concrete object and the detection of reinforcement bars and any discontinuities present in the material.

In this article, we have addressed the topic of concrete preservation in civil heritage and have presented three primary investigation techniques. If you would like more information about the services and tools that Novatest provides for professionals working in this field, please don’t hesitate to contact us through the form.

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