Numerical modelling and experimental verification of GPR to investigate ring separation in brick masonry arch bridges

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The application of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) as a non-destructive technique for the monitoring of ring separation in masonry arch bridges was studied. Numerical modelling techniques were used to simulate tests using GPR-these numerical experiments were backed up and calibrated using laboratory experiments. Due to the heterogeneity of these structures, the signals coming from the interaction between the GPR system and the bridge are often complex, and hence hard to interpret. This defined the need to create a GPR numerical model that will allow the study of the attributes of reflected signals from various targets within the structure of the bridge. The GPR numerical analysis was undertaken using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. Since "micro regions" in the structure need to be modelled, subgrids were introduced into the standard FDTD method, in order to economize on the required memory and the calculation time. Good correlations were obtained between the numerical experiments and actual GPR experiments. It was shown both numerically and experimentally that significant mortar loss between the masonry arch rings can be detected. However, hairline delaminations between the mortar and the brick masonry cannot be detected using GPR. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-363
Number of pages10
JournalNDT and E International: Independent Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • brick masonry arch bridges
  • ground-penetrating radar
  • experimental testing
  • numerical modelling
  • NDT

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