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Innovation in Non-Destructive Seismic Testing
Applications 12/5/09
The civil engineer's dream is the black-box that can scan a road or structure, and report the time and the manner in which it
will fail. We wish we knew how to build that black-box. Every measurement we know how to make, whether seismic,
nuclear, or electromagnetic, gives only an indirect estimate of remaining life. Seismic-wave measurements are less indirect
than others, and have several major strengths in realizing the ideal measurement.
The seismic modulus or
stiffness is directly related to
the square of velocity of
stress-wave propagation.
Velocity/modulus reductions are
measurable years before surface
distress appears.
Life-cycle feedback
becomes possible. The same
physical property is measured in the lab
for material selection and design, in construction
test cylinders for material quality control, in-situ
for construction quality control, and
in-situ over the lifetime of the
pavement for performance

High-frequency, low-strain
measurements are linear, precise, and
non-destructive, giving cost-effective
laboratory characterization of aging,
compaction, moisture, strain, and
temperature dependence.
In-situ measures of construction quality are at
stress and strain levels comparable to laboratory
The remediation effectiveness can be