Ultrasonic Tomography for Infrastructure Inspection

The structural integrity of railroad infrastructure is critical in order to address structural repair needs in a timely fashion and ensure rail safety. This includes the regular inspection and maintenance of railroad tunnel linings and timber beams and ties. Since tunnels are naturally in an aggressive environment that is not conducive to lane closures, early detection that leads to preventive maintenance is a necessity. The occurrence of damage and deterioration in railroad timber beams and ties can lead to failure of the components and, in the worst case, derailment of the train. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, wide gages due to defective/missing cross ties accounted for the highest percentage (17.1%) of all railway accidents in the US from 2008-2011 (FRA, 2011). It is therefore crucial to detect damage at an early stage so that, by taking appropriate measures, failure can be prevented. The proposed project will examine the use of Ultrasonic Tomography (UST) to examine the interior of wooden beams and cross ties as well as railroad tunnel linings on-site. The Ultrasonic Tomographer employs a matrix (4x12) of low-frequency, shear transducers that generate shear waves through the depth of a specimen under test. The waves are reflected by internal discontinuities and changes in medium (such as concrete, air, and steel). This behavior is utilized to map voids, delamination, cracks, and other defects, as well as structural depth and reinforcement presence. The waves are sequentially emitted and received by 66 paired transducers per single scan, causing repeated reflections and patterns to stand out for inspection. Through the use of dry-point-contact piezoelectric sensors, the transducers do not require the use of a coupling agent, making it practical for on-site applications. The recorded signals undergo automated signal processing to identify the existence, location, and size of the potential discontinuities. The UST technique can be used to map entire three dimensional (3D) images of concrete sections as well as single-point evaluations.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $159,562
  • Contract Numbers:

    DTRT13-G-UTC59

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
    3136 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3136
  • Managing Organizations:

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
    3136 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3136
  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
    3136 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3136
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hurlebaus, Stefan

  • Start Date: 20140101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20161231
  • Actual Completion Date: 20161231
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: RiP Project 36692

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01528389
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Center for Railway Safety
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC59
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 19 2014 1:00AM