Nebraska LTAP


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Shen, Z., Erdogmus, E., Morcous, G., Cheng, C., Shang, Z., McCabe, T., Kodsy, A. (2020). Early Detection of Near-Surface Void Defects in Concrete Pavement Using Drone Based Thermography and GPR Methods. NDOT Research Report SPR-P1(19) M082.


The goal of this research is to evaluate the feasibility and the performance of using UAV-mounted infrared thermography (IRT) and ground penetration radar (GPR) to detect sub-surface voids caused by consolidation issues in concrete pavement. The motivation of the study is to identify the consolidation defects as early as the initial set of concrete to avoid having this problem in large pavement sections, which is costly and time consuming to repair. Using the two technologies in combination to detect subsurface voids in the concrete initial set stage is new and aims to take advantage of the strengths and minimize the limitations of each method. UAV-based IRT can cover large areas of the pavements in a short amount of time, while GPR can provide higher accuracy in locating the defects horizontally and vertically. Therefore, the combination of the two technologies can allow detection of small voids in large areas with improved confidence. In this project, both laboratory and field tests were conducted with both methods, and coring samples were used for validation of results. The results from multiple specimens and multiple experiments suggested that both technologies performed well in detecting the subsurface voids in the concrete pavement’s initial set stage. Despite some limitations discussed in the report, the outcomes of the project provided evidence that these technologies can be used separately or together on the field as efficient and economical quality control tools in concrete pavement construction.