Acoustic Emission Sensing for Crack Monitoring in Prefabricated and Prestressed Reinforced Concrete Bridge Girders

Prefabricated and prestressed beams are integral to accelerated bridge construction (ABC) and other construction projects, but concerns exist regarding the development of cracks during curing, form removal, detensioning, transport, installation, and operation. Acoustic emission (AE) sensing techniques have the potential for detecting and locating cracking in prefabricated, prestressed concrete girders used as prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES) in ABC as part of a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program. AE measures the elastic waves produced by crack nucleation and growth with an array of point sensors. The AE instrument system is relatively portable, which can allow for it to be an option for off-site fabrication QA/QC and on-site field QA/QC. This paper presents AE measurements and analysis on relatively small laboratory reinforced concrete beam specimens under pullout and three-point bending to demonstrate the efficacy of AE in detecting cracks. It then presents application of AE during detensioning and lifting of full-scale Northeast Extreme Tee (NEXT) beams and Bulb Tee. The results indicate that AE sensing is a practical QA/QC process for PBES elements.


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  • Accession Number: 01700611
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Feb 11 2019 3:01PM