Air-coupled ultrasonic tomography of solids: 2 Application to concrete elements

Kerry S. Hall, John S Popovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Applications of ultrasonic tomography to concrete structures have been reported for many years. However, practical and effective application of this tool for nondestructive assessment of internal concrete conditionis hamperedby time consuming transducer coupling that limits the amount of ultrasonic data that can be collected. This research aims to deploy recent developments in air-coupled ultrasonic measurements of solids, described in Part 1 of this paper set, to concrete inorder to image internal inclusions. Ultrasonic signals are collected from concrete samples using a fully air-coupled (contactless) test configuration. These air coupled data are compared to those collected using partial semi-contact and full-contact test configurations. Two samples are considered: a 150 mm diameter cylinder with an internal circular void and a prism with 300 mm x 300 mm square cross-section that contains internal damaged regions and embedded reinforcement. The heterogeneous nature of concrete material structure complicates the application and interpretation of ultrasonic measurements and imaging. Volumetric inclusions within the concrete specimens are identified in the constructed velocity tomograms, but wave scattering at internal interfaces of the concrete disrupts the images. This disruption reduces defect detection accuracy as compared with tomograms built up of data collected from homogeneous solid samples (PVC) that are described in Part 1 of this paper set. Semi-contact measurements provide some improvement in accuracy through higher signal-to-noise ratio while still allowing for reasonably rapid data collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016


  • Concrete
  • Contactless
  • Imaging
  • Non-destructive testing ultrasound
  • UPV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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