Research Scientist, Dept. 8.0–Non-Destructive Testing, BAM–Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung (Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing), Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, Germany (corresponding author). E-mail: Parisa.Shokouhi@bam.de
2Graduate Research Assistant, Division 8.2, BAM–Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung (Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing), Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: Julia.Wolf@bam.de
3Head, Division 8.2, BAM–Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung (Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing), Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: Herbert.Wiggenhauser@bam.de
The accuracy and precision of low-frequency (center frequency of approximately 55 kHz) ultrasonic testing for detection and characterization of delamination in concrete bridge decks were evaluated. A multiprobe ultrasonic testing system (with horizontally polarized shear-wave transducers) was used to detect built-in delamination defects of various size, depth, and severity (i.e., thickness) in a test specimen—a 6.1 m×2.4 m×216 mm (20 ft×8 ft×8.5 in.) reinforced concrete slab-built to simulate a concrete bridge deck. The collected data sets were reconstructed applying synthetic aperture focusing technique (SAFT). The reconstructed measurement results were then used to assess the condition of the concrete slab at individual points [point-by-point data collection and two-dimensional (2D) reconstruction] as well as along lines, where data were collected at smaller steps and reconstructed in a three-dimensional (3D) format. The local-phase information was also calculated, superimposed on the reconstructed images and used as complementary information in condition assessment. The precision and accuracy of condition assessments were evaluated. The results indicated that, using the multiprobe ultrasonic array, delamination defects as small as 30 cm2 (1 ft2) could be reliably detected. Deep delaminations [i.e., those deeper than 150 mm (6 in.)] were directly detected and characterized, whereas shallow delaminations [shallower than 65 mm (2.5 in.)] were detected only indirectly. The precision of the measurements was demonstrated by comparing repeated measurements at several test points. Similar measurement results obtained on a delaminated portion of a real bridge deck support the conclusions of the validation study.