The evaluation of distributed damage in concrete based on sinusoidal modeling of the ultrasonic response

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Abstract

Ultrasonic wave attenuation is an effective descriptor of distributed damage in inhomogeneous materials. Methods developed to measure wave attenuation have the potential to provide an in-site evaluation of existing concrete structures insofar as they are accurate and time-efficient. In this study, material classification and distributed damage evaluation were investigated based on the sinusoidal modeling of the response from the through-transmission ultrasonic tests on polymer concrete specimens. The response signal was modeled as single or the sum of damping sinusoids. Due to the inhomogeneous nature of concrete materials, model parameters may vary from one specimen to another. Therefore, these parameters are not known in advance and should be estimated while the response signal is being received. The modeling procedure used in this study involves a data-adaptive algorithm to estimate the parameters online. Data-adaptive algorithms are used due to a lack of knowledge of the model parameters. The damping factor was estimated as a descriptor of the distributed damage. The results were compared in two different cases as follows: (1) constant excitation frequency with varying concrete mixtures and (2) constant mixture with varying excitation frequencies. The specimens were also loaded up to their ultimate compressive strength to investigate the effect of distributed damage in the response signal. The results of the estimation indicated that the damping was highly sensitive to the change in material inhomogeneity, even in comparable mixtures. In addition to the proposed method, three methods were employed to compare the results based on their accuracy in the classification of materials and the evaluation of the distributed damage. It is shown that the estimated damping factor is not only sensitive to damage in the final stages of loading, but it is also applicable in evaluating micro damages in the earlier stages providing a reliable descriptor of damage. In addition, the modified amplitude ratio method is introduced as an improvement of the classical method. The proposed methods were validated to be effective descriptors of distributed damage. The presented models were also in good agreement with the experimental data.

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