Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

How highway bridges sing - or groan - in the rain to reveal their health
by Staff Writers
Salt Lake City UT (SPX) Oct 23, 2012

Bridge deck undergoing treatment for structural damage.

A team of BYU engineers has found that by listening to how a highway bridge sings in the rain they can determine serious flaws in the structure. Employing a method called impact-echo testing, professors Brian Mazzeo and Spencer Guthrie can diagnose the health of a bridge's deck based on the acoustic footprint produced by a little bit of water.

Specifically, the sound created when a droplet makes impact can reveal hidden dangers in the bridge.

"There is a difference between water hitting intact structures and water hitting flawed structures," Mazzeo said. "We can detect things you can't see with a visual inspection; things happening within the bridge itself."

The study presents a more efficient and cost-effective method to address the mounting safety concerns over bridge corrosion and aging across the U.S. and beyond.

While impact-echo testing for bridges is nothing new to engineers, the BYU researchers are the first to use water droplets to produce acoustic responses. Current testing relies on solid objects such as hammers and chains.

The idea is to detect delamination, or the separation of structural layers, in a concrete bridge deck. The most common method involves dragging a chain over a bridge and marking spots where dull, hollow sound is produced.

However, this method can take hours to carry out for a single bridge and requires lane closures that come with additional complications.

"The infrastructure in the U.S. is aging, and there's a lot of work that needs to be done," Guthrie said. "We need to be able to rapidly assess bridge decks so we can understand the extent of deterioration and apply the right treatment at the right time."

The study results, published in the October issue of Non-Destructive Testing and Evaluation International, could help transform deck surveys into rapid, automated and cost efficient exercises.

The method is as simple as dropping droplets of water on the material and recording the sound. The acoustic response indicates the health of the concrete.

"The response gives you an indication of both the size and the depth of the flaw," Mazzeo said.

Mazzeo said the method could be used to test materials beyond bridges, including aircraft composites, which are susceptible to delamination.

Though the current research is preliminary, the researchers envision a day where bridge deck surveys would take only a few moments.

"We would love to be able to drive over a bridge at 25 or 30 mph, spray it with water while we're driving and be able to detect all the structural flaws on the bridge," Mazzeo said. "We think there is a huge opportunity, but we need to keep improving on the physics."


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

New paper reveals fundamental chemistry of plasma/liquid interactions
Notre Dame, IN (SPX) Oct 17, 2012
Though not often considered beyond the plasma television, small-scale microplasmas have great utility in a wide variety of applications. Recently, new developments have begun to capitalize on how these microplasmas interact with liquids in applications ranging from killing bacteria for sterilizing a surface to rapidly synthesizing nanoparticles. An interdisciplinary collaboration between r ... read more

European mission to search for moon water

Model reconciles Lunar Earth composition with giant impact theory

Massive planetary collision may have zapped key elements from moon

Proof at last: Moon was created in giant smashup

Valles Marineris - the largest canyon in the Solar System

Curiosity Rover Collects Fourth Scoop of Martian Soil

How Space Station Can Help Humans Follow Curiosity to Mars and Beyond

Mars Soil Sample Delivered for Analysis Inside Rover

NASA must reinvest in nanotechnology research, according to new Rice University paper

Austrian space diver no stranger to danger

Baumgartner feat boosts hopes for imperilled astronauts

Austrian breaks sound barrier in record space jump

Patience for Tiangong

China launches civilian technology satellites

ChangE-2 Mission To Lagrange L2 Point

Meeting of heads of ESA and China Manned Space Agency

New ISS Crew Confirmed

Russia launches three astronauts to ISS

ISS Orbit to be Adjusted for Next Spacecraft

Crew Unloads Dragon, Finds Treats

Brazil eyes closer space cooperation with Ukraine

S. Korea plans third rocket launch bid Friday

AFSPC commander convenes AIB

Proton Lofts Intelsat 23 For Americas, Europe and Africa Markets

New small satellite will study super-Earths for ESA

Most Planetary Systems are 'Flatter than Pancakes'

Glitch could end NASA planet search

Ultra-Compact Planetary System Is A Touchstone For Understanding New Planet Population

Angkor Wat builders may have had shortcut

Taking aim at rivals, Apple unveils iPad mini

Japan firm launches real-time telephone translation

Microsoft gives peek at new Windows, tablet

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement