Use of Microwaves for Damage Detection of Fiber Reinforced Polymer-Wrapped Concrete Structures

Feng, Maria Q.; De Flaviis, Franco; Kim, Yoo Jin

Jacketing technology using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites is being applied for seismic retrofit and rehabilitation of reinforced concrete (RC) columns designed and constructed under older specifications. In this study, the authors develop an electromagnetic (EM) imaging technology for detecting such damage as voids and debonding between the jacket and the column, which may significantly weaken the structural performance of the column otherwise attainable by jacketing. This technology is based on the reflection analysis of a continuous EM wave sent toward and reflected from layered FRP–adhesive-concrete medium: Voids and debonding areas will generate air gaps which produce additional reflections of the EM wave. In this study, dielectric properties of various materials involved in the FRP-jacketed RC column were first measured using a plane-wave reflectometer. The measured properties were then used for a computer simulation of the proposed EM imaging technology. The simulation demonstrated the difficulty in detecting damage by using plane waves, as the reflection contribution from the voids and debonding is very small compared to that from the jacketed column. In order to alleviate this difficulty, dielectric lenses were designed and fabricated, focusing the EM wave on the bonding interface. Finally, three concrete columns were constructed and wrapped with glass–FRP jackets with various voids and debonding conditions artificially introduced in the bonding interface. Using the proposed EM imaging technology involving the especially designed and properly installed lenses, these voids and debonding areas were successfully detected. This technology can be used to assess the jacket bonding quality during the initial jacket installation stage and to detect debonding between the column and the jacket caused by earthquake and other destructive loads.


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Also Published In

Journal of Engineering Mechanics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Published Here
April 1, 2013