Investigation of Corrosion and other Deterioration Effects in Highway Bridge Components using Non-destructive Testing Technology of Acoustic Emission

The degradation of civil infrastructure is an ongoing problem in terms of not only structural engineering but in maintenance planning as well. The major dilemma for bridge owners is detecting the degradation of the structure, and effective planning with regards to maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, or replacement. This difficulty increases when the structure becomes difficult to inspect due to access restrictions or discontinuities that cannot be seen visually. Despite these challenges, it has been shown that nondestructive tests and monitoring can help assess the condition of the bridge so that informed decisions regarding maintenance can be made. The rising demand for ensuring the integrity and performance of our nation's bridges that are usually subjected to severe environmental effects require inspection for evaluation of their structural conditions. A combination of load and corrosion loss is the main cause of deterioration in both concrete and steel bridges. For concrete bridges in long-term service, the degradation caused by corrosion of reinforcement due to chloride ingress and concrete cracking is the major problem. The rate of deterioration is unpredictable in both materials. Thus, the danger to motorists and the economic consequences that the failure of a bridge would create is self evident. Improvement in safety of the nation's transportation network is The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT's) stated priority. Highways are vital components of the transportation infrastructure. Thus safety of highway bridges is crucial for improving the safety of the nation's transportation network. In a technologically advanced nation like ours, it is imperative to conduct research and utilize technologies that enhance highway bridge safety for achievement of such goals. Research on and utilization of non-destructive test and monitoring technologies is one of the focus areas in ESITAC's strategic planning. It is thus proposed to utilize non-destructive testing technology (NDT), in collaboration with VDOT's District Structure and Bridge Engineering Department and its research arm the Virginia Center of Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR), for accurate, reliable and durable methods to investigate degradation mechanisms of highway bridges and to help take remedial measures to prevent spread of degradation. There are concrete beam and steel girder bridges in the state of Virginia. There is an inherent need and interest by researchers to have a better understanding regarding the failure process for this type of bridge, and subsequently, the desire to improve and enhance the ability to inspect these types of bridge structures. Thus the purpose of this proposal is to illustrate how the use of acoustic emission (AE) monitoring can provide real-time information regarding the structural integrity of the girders and pillars on the bridge while in use. Previous AE studies on bridges such as the one on Coastguard Blvd. in Portsmouth, VA and the ongoing investigations on the bridge at Denbigh Boulevard have provided a comfortable basis on the utility of AE technology for real time investigations without the affecting the traffic flow. In the proposed studies, this project focuses specifically on corrosion aspects of the degradation even as we continue to establish the role of freight traffic movement under a bridge on bridge structural components. Accordingly, for the period of 2012 - 2013, a potential test bridge like Virginia Structure No. 2222, Federal Structure ID 20727 in Newport News, Virginia will be studied in consultations and discussions with Virginia Council for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR) and VDOT's District Structure and Bridge Engineering Department.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $460000.00
    • 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:

      Hampton University

      School of Engineering and Technology
      Hampton, VA  United States  23668
    • Principal Investigators:

      Jagasivamani, Vadivel

    • Start Date: 20120620
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20130531
    • Source Data: RiP Project 31987

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01520423
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Eastern Seaboard Intermodal Transportation Applications Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G-0029
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Mar 29 2014 1:01AM