Monitoring the structural condition of road and airport pavement is an extremely critical task to ensure the safety and efficiency of teh transportation. The topic is relevant to both civil and military transportation infrastructure. The presence of damage in pavement, including surface cracking, depressions, swells, and wear, is inevitable due to the sever environmental and service loads that these structures must be subject to. Existing NDE techniques aimed at assessing the structural condition of pavement include Falling Weight Deflectometer, Ground Penetrating Radar, and acoustic methods based on surface waves.
This paper presents improvements to the traditional surface-wave method for the detection of surface-breaking cracks in pavement. The advances include 1) the modeling of the problem as dipsersive waves propagating in a multilayer system, 2) the inclusion of post-processing algorithms based on the Wavelet Transform to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of the inspection, and 3) the use of non-contact, air-coupled acoustic detectors to enhance the mobility of the inspection unit.
The crack detection procedure consists of first generating a dispersive wave with an impulse hammer, and then measuring the changes in velocity, amplitude and/or frequency content as the wave travels across the flaw with the aid of the Continuous Wavelet Transform. Multilayer wave propagation modeling provides a better understanding of the experimental results by predicting how the various frequencies interact with cracks of different depths.
The results of field tests will be presented for both rigid (concrete-based) and flexible (bitumen-based) pavement with surface cracks.