Muon tomography of the interior of a reinforced concrete block: first experimental proof of concept

Niederleithinger, E. et al. (2021) Muon tomography of the interior of a reinforced concrete block: first experimental proof of concept. Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, 40(3), 65. (doi: 10.1007/s10921-021-00797-3)

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Quality assurance and condition assessment of concrete structures is an important topic world-wide due to the aging infrastructure and increasing traffic demands. Common topics include, but are not limited to, localisation of rebar or tendon ducts, geometrical irregularities, cracks, voids, honeycombing or other flaws. Non-destructive techniques such as ultrasound or radar have found regular, successful practical application but sometimes suffer from limited resolution and accuracy, imaging artefacts or restrictions in detecting certain features. Until the 1980s X-ray transmission was used in case of special demands and showed a much better resolution than other NDT techniques. However, due to safety concerns and cost issues, this method is almost never used anymore. Muon tomography has received much attention recently. Novel detectors for cosmic muons and tomographic imaging algorithms have opened up new fields of application, such as the investigation of freight containers. Muon imaging also has the potential to fill some of the gaps currently existing in concrete NDT. As a first step towards practical use and as a proof of concept we used an existing system to image the interior of a reference reinforced 600 kg concrete block. Even with a yet not optimized setup for this kind of investigation, the muon imaging results are at least of similar quality compared to ultrasonic and radar imaging, potentially even better. The data acquisition takes more time and signals contain more noise, but the images allowed to detect the same important features that are visible in conventional high energy X-ray tomography. In our experiment, we have shown that muon imaging has potential for concrete inspection. The next steps include the development of mobile detectors and optimising acquisition and imaging parameters.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The work of the University of Glasgow has been supported by funding from STFC and EPSRC via the University of Glasgow Impact Accelerator Account. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clarkson, Mr Anthony and Mahon, Mr David and Kaiser, Professor Ralf and Yang, Dr Guangliang and Gardner, Mr Simon and Ryan, Mr Matthew and Thomson, Mr Francis
Authors: Niederleithinger, E., Gardner, S., Kind, T., Kaiser, R., Grunwald, M., Yang, G., Redmer, B., Waske, A., Mielentz, F., Effner, U., Köpp, C., Clarkson, A., Thomson, F., Ryan, M., and Mahon, D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation
ISSN (Online):1573-4862
Published Online:24 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation 40(3): 65
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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