Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How highway bridges sing -- or groan -- in the rain to reveal their health: Just a drop of water can indicate the stability of a bridge

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
Engineers have 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, experts 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.

Professor Brian Mazzeo tests acoustic-based measurement techniques in his lab.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brigham Young University

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian A. Mazzeo, Anjali N. Patil, W. Spencer Guthrie. Acoustic impact-echo investigation of concrete delaminations using liquid droplet excitation. NDT & E International, 2012; 51: 41 DOI: 10.1016/j.ndteint.2012.05.007

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "How highway bridges sing -- or groan -- in the rain to reveal their health: Just a drop of water can indicate the stability of a bridge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162701.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2012, October 22). How highway bridges sing -- or groan -- in the rain to reveal their health: Just a drop of water can indicate the stability of a bridge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162701.htm
Brigham Young University. "How highway bridges sing -- or groan -- in the rain to reveal their health: Just a drop of water can indicate the stability of a bridge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162701.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins