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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Time-Lapse Infrared Thermography Applied to Concrete Bridge Deck Inspection Surveys
Steven B. Chase, Ph.D., and Chad M. Anderson, EIT
Year: 2019
VTRC No.: 20-R22

The Federal Highway Administration mandates that all [bridge] structures in its inventory are to be inspected every two years. Consequently, deck surveys are conducted to identify unseen damage within them. A significant number of bridges in Virginia have concrete decks with an overlay. Methods commonly deployed on these decks, are limited in the quantitative results they can provide. To overcome these limitations, an improved method of applying infrared thermography using time-lapse technology is introduced.  Following a simulated parametric study, a time-lapse infrared thermography data collection system was acquired along with a basic program to analyze the data qualitatively.

A novel physics-based program was also developed to analyze the data quantitatively. The system is ready to be deployed on most bridges, offering a full-field non-contact survey of the entire deck with minimal impact to traffic flow. However, it is recommended that the quantitative program undergo additional testing prior to production level deployment.