From Guesswork to Guarantee?

by Kenneth Maser, President; Dufrusense, Inc., 19-R Brookline Street, Cambridge, MA 02139,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 9, Pg. 78-79


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Maser describes a project to determine the effectiveness of radar and infrared thermography in detecting deterioration of asphalt overlaid bridge decks. The project, sponsored by the New England Transportation Consortium, collected radar and infrared data on twelve bridge decks scheduled for maintenance. Deterioration indicated by these methods was then compared to the actual damage revealed during maintenance. Radar proved effective at detecting moisture content (indicating deterioration caused by freeze/thaw cycles), while infrared thermography revealed delaminations under dry conditions. The study showed that by combining the two methods—with underside visual inspection as a back-up measure—it was possible to predict actual deterioration levels to within 4%. This is a much higher level of accuracy than possible with current technique, which are often off by as much as 100-200%. The greater speed of radar and infrared techniques also opens up the possibility of regular systemwide condition assessments.

Subject Headings: Bridge decks | Bridge maintenance | Imaging techniques | Deterioration | Radar | Thermal factors | Asphalts

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