Diffuse Ultrasound for Damage Detection in Concrete Railroad Ties

Damage to concrete railroad ties may be caused by many factors including manufacturing defects, overloading, mechanical fatigue, thermal damage, chemical damage or a combination of these factors. Damaged ties are a substantial safety risk and the replacement of ties is a significant expenditure annually. Current visual inspections of ties can quantify some damage prevention, but often internal damage is substantial by the time the cracks reach the tie surface such that they may be detected. Thus, new methods for quantitative assessment of damage using nondestructive methods are essential for determining the structural integrity of ties and for predicting their remaining usable life. The proposed research will address these needs through the study of ultrasound propagation in concrete ties at frequencies higher than those previously explored for tie inspection (e.g., impact echo). The research project is based on a firm theoretical foundation and exploits previous research from the Principal Investigator (PI) associated with the propagation, scattering, and dissipation of ultrasound in concrete. The influence of various types of damage, as identified by Union Pacific, will be explored with respect to the characteristics of ultrasound. The proposed high frequency (> 100 kHz) approach will improve the detection of small-scale damage by using wavelengths that are shorter than those explored previously. The heterogeneous nature of concrete necessitates a statistical approach in order to extract quantitative information from the measurements. It is anticipated that the research will lead to new techniques for assessing damage in concrete ties. The proposed research also will have significant impact on the educational training of one graduate student in nondestructive evaluation techniques applied to essential infrastructure materials.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $60030.00
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      University Transportation Centers Program
      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      Mid-America Transportation Center

      University of Nebraska-Lincoln
      2200 Vine Street, PO Box 830851
      Lincoln, NE  United States  68583-0851
    • Principal Investigators:

      Turner, Joseph

    • Start Date: 20130701
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20141231
    • Source Data: RiP Project 34758

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01487974
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Mid-America Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC07
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Jul 24 2013 1:02AM