Integrity Assessment of Composite and Timber Piles in the Marine Environment Using Nondestructive Testing

The main objective of this research study is to evaluate the feasibility of using ultrasonic testing as a non-destructive technique for assessing the integrity of GFRP composite piles. The research project is divided into four main segments. Chapter one will introduce the need for evaluating the integrity of glass fiber reinforced piles (GFRP). Chapter two provides an overview of the different types of composite pile materials, advantages and disadvantages for each, and relative costs. Chapter three provides an overview of the different non-destructive testing methods including traditional pile testing methods such as the Pile Integrity Test (PIT) and the Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA) as well as visual inspection, liquid penetration, and laser shearography. Ultrasonic testing, including traditional and phased array, is also discussed in detail. Chapter 4 presents results from a series of three-point bending tests on several piles including a steel pipe pile, timber pile, concrete-filled GFRP pile, and several hollow GFRP piles of varying diameters and wall thicknesses from the same manufacturer. Load-deflection behavior of the hollow GFRP piles is compared with that of more traditional materials. Chapter five presents results from ultrasonic tests of GFRP pile coupons purposely flawed for the purpose of assessing integrity. Several variations of flaws are considered including different diameters, orientation, and depth. The ability to detect multiple flaws in series and calibration of the test equipment and practical tests using Plexiglas are also considered. Finally, a summary of the research study, conclusions, and recommendations are presented in Chapter six.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Department of Chemical Engineering
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Transportation Center, Carlotti Administration Building
    75 Lower College Road
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881
  • Authors:
    • Gindy, Mayrai
    • Baxter, Christopher D P
    • Tsiatas, George
    • Hirtler, Philipp
  • Publication Date: 2005


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 80p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01139660
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: UTC, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 17 2009 11:14AM