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Article of the Month:

Detection and Classification of Surface and Subsurface Structural Deficiencies Using Mobile Infrared Thermography and High-definition Visual Imaging

Kyle Ruske, Masato Matsumoto, PE, Int. PE, Shuhei Hiasa, PE


8300 Boone Blvd, Suite 240 Vienna, VA 22182

Ph: 703-734-0281 


The USA is experiencing an oncoming wave of transportation structures becoming obsolete and in need of repair or replacement. The average age of the country’s bridges, for example, is about 45 years, and a significant portion of these bridges are considered structurally deficient. Using the FHWA’s Structure Inventory and Appraisal (SI&A) database or the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines, bridge inspectors determine condition ratings of bridge components. However, determining these ratings with conventional inspection methods has numerous drawbacks. For example, highway lane closures create significant economic impact on state agencies, prime consultants, and roadway users.

To instead enable the efficient collection of diagnostic data and facilitate anticipatory decision-making by pinpointing deficient areas in concrete surfaces, NEXCO-West USA has developed a methodology for scanning structural surfaces with indirect and non-destructive infrared and visual technology. The method uses specific hardware and software which highlight deficient areas in a variety of applications, including 1) mobile highway inspections, 2) marine inspections, and 3) stationary inspections from short to long distances in respect to the target surface. In this paper, NEXCO presents data from multiple locations and examines the efficacy of the inspection method's large-scale applicability. By using this method, we aim to minimize man-hours in the field and to give bridge inspectors the tools to gain more accurate data in initial inspection phases, which can be used to objectively rate structural conditions.

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