Nondestructive Evaluation of FRP Bridge Deck Panels

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jeff Brown, Hope College

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The purpose of this research was to investigate Infrared Thermography (IRT) as a Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) method for glass fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite bridge deck panels. FRP bridge decks are currently being evaluated as a potential replacement for traditional steel-grate or concrete bridge decking. A potential problem with these decks, however, is that structural damage that can occur due to overloading or environmental factors may not be visible from the top or bottom surface of the deck. Two decks were tested in the current study: one that had been loaded to failure and another that was undamaged. External heat was applied through the use of 8 halogen lamps arrayed around the outside, while an FLIR A320 ThermoVision infrared camera was set up to view the samples. The proximity of the lamps to the deck, the proximity of the camera to the deck, and the angle of the lights were all varied over the course of the testing, as well as different surface preparations from sanding to painting. Results indicate that IRT is potentially useful for evaluating the integrity of FRP bridge decks, but additional research is needed to better understand the influence of non-uniform heating.


This work is supported by the Florida Department of Transportation.

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