The information presented in this report provides a detailed assessment of the condition of the Arlington Memorial Bridge (AMB) deck. The field-data collection was obtained by both the RABIT™ Bridge Inspection Tool and a number of semi-automated non-destructive evaluation (NDE) tools. The deployment of the semi-automated NDE tools was performed to inspect the AMB deck condition and also to validate data obtained by the RABIT™ Bridge Inspection Tool. Data mining and analysis were accomplished through enhanced data interpretation and visualization capabilities using advanced data integration, fusion, and 2D rendering. One of the major challenges that the research team had to overcome in assessing the condition of the AMB deck was the presence of an asphalt overlay on the entire bridge deck.
The past decade has seen new, emerging innovation of Ultrasonic Testing (UT). Specifically, multiple manufacturers have produced Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) systems. The PAUT systems embed a matrix of multiple (some up to 128) single transducers into one probe used for scanning elastic materials. Simultaneously exciting multiple transducers offers distinct advantages; depending on the sequencing of transducer excitation, the ultrasonic beam could be steered within the material and multiple beams help develop extra dimensional data to assist with visualization of possible flaws including the discontinuity size, shape and location. Unfortunately, there has not been broad acceptance of PAUT in the bridge fabrication industry because it is currently not a recognized inspection technology in AWS D1.5. One situation in which the technology would excel would be inspection of Complete Joint Penetration (CJP) butt welds. Currently, AWS D1.5 required CJP welds subjected to tensile or reversal stresses only be inspected by Radiographic Testing (RT). However, discontinuities normally seen by RT can also be seen with PAUT. Until specification language is adopted into D1.5, there will continue to be hesitancy to use PAUT for the inspection of CJP butt welds. Developmental work must first be performed to develop the acceptance criteria and the specification language. The developmental work from the inspections carried out on butt-weld specimens and transition butt-weld specimens are presented in this paper. Specific scan plans were developed using the ES-Beam simulation software for each of the test specimens. In depth analysis of PAUT data obtained to determine exact location and sizing information of the defects was performed. The results also present the comparison of results from PAUT to those obtained using conventional UT and radiography.