Research Activities: 2006


Development of Hand-held Thermographic Inspection Technologies



Complete  View Report: PDF

Sequential Number


Identification Number


Matching Research Agency

MODOT, University of Missouri Columbia

Principal Investigator

Glenn Washer, Assistant Professor
Room 2503 Lafferre Hall
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

Student Involvement

The project will support three graduate students and four undergraduate research participants.

Project Objective

The goal of the proposed research is to provide maintenance and inspection personnel with an effective tool for detecting and monitoring concrete deterioration without disrupting traffic flow.

Project Abstract

Subsurface deterioration in concrete structures presents a significant challenge for inspection and maintenance engineers. Cracking, delaminations and spalling that can occur as a result of corrosion of embedded reinforcing steel can lead to pot holes and even punch-through in concrete decks. For overpass bridges, concrete can separate from the structure and fall into traffic below the bridge, and there have been numerous deadly accidents as a result. Although this deterioration can frequently be detected using hammer sounding and/or chain dragging, these inspection techniques require hands-on access to the surface of the concrete. For both overpass bridges and decks, lane closures are required to gain access to the structure, and the resulting traffic disruptions makes inspections expensive and logistically difficult. The proposed research would explore the use of hand-held infrared cameras for the remote detection of deterioration in concrete. This technology could reduce the need for lane closures and improve the ability of inspection and maintenance personnel to detect and monitor deterioration in its embryonic stages, such that maintenance procedures can be employed before deterioration becomes critical. The technology can also be used to monitor and improve concrete repairs by rapidly identifying the extent of deterioration and locating its boundaries.


Task Description



Anticipated Benefits

The project will develop guidelines for practice for the use of infrared cameras for the maintenance inspection of bridges, improving the state-of-the-art for infrastructure inspection

Modal Orientation



Project Start Date:01/29/2006
Project End Date:05/31/2009

Relationship to other Research/Projects


Technology Transfer Activities

In addition to the final report, training and technology transfer activities will be undertaken both during and a the conclusion of the study. These activities will train State DOT personnel on the proper use and operation of IR cameras for bridge inspection

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Field testing, nondestructive evaluation, concrete