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Ground penetrating radar-based deterioration assessment of RC bridge decks

Mohammed Alsharqawi (The Regional Municipality of York, Newmarket, Canada)
Tarek Zayed (Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Ahmad Shami (AXOR Experts-Conseils, Montréal, Canada)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 27 November 2019

Issue publication date: 6 January 2020



Although ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology is commonly used to assess the condition of reinforced-concrete (RC) bridge decks, the GPR data interpretation is not straightforward. Further, the thresholds that define the severity of deterioration are selected arbitrarily. This paper aims to solve a problem associated with GPR results generated by using a numerical amplitude method to assess corrosiveness of bridge decks.


Data, for more than 50 different bridge decks, were collected using a ground-coupled antenna. Depth-correction was performed for the collected data to normalize the reflected amplitude. Using k-means clustering technique, the amplitude values of each bridge deck were classified into four categories. Later, statistical analysis was performed where the threshold values of different categories of corrosion and deterioration are chosen. Monte-Carlo simulation technique was used to validate the value of these thresholds. Moreover, a sensitivity analysis was performed to realize the effect of changing the thresholds in the areas of corrosion.


The final result of this research is a four-category (good, fair, poor and critical) GPR scale with three fixed numerical thresholds (−7.71 dB, −10.04 dB and −14.63 dB) that define these categories. Besides, deterioration curves have been modeled using Weibull function and based on GPR outputs and corrosion areas.


The developed numerical GPR-based scale and deterioration models are expected to help the decision-makers in assessing the corrosiveness of bridge decks accurately and objectively. Hence, they will be able to take the right intervention decision for managing these decks.



Alsharqawi, M., Zayed, T. and Shami, A. (2020), "Ground penetrating radar-based deterioration assessment of RC bridge decks", Construction Innovation, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 1-17.



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