Civil Engineering Applications of ground Penetrating Radar: Research Perspectives in COST Action TU1208

Pajewski, Lara, Benedetto, Andrea, Loizos, Andreas, Slob, Evert and Tosti, Fabio (2013) Civil Engineering Applications of ground Penetrating Radar: Research Perspectives in COST Action TU1208. In: EGU General Assembly 2013, 07 April - 12 April 2013, Vienna, Austria.

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Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a safe, non-destructive and non-invasive imaging technique that can be
effectively used for advanced inspection of composite structures and for diagnostics affecting the whole life-cycle
of civil engineering works.
GPR provides high resolution images of structures and subsurface through wide-band electromagnetic waves. It
can be employed for the surveying of roads, pavements, bridges, tunnels, for detecting underground cavities and
voids, for utility sensing, for the inspection of buildings, reinforced concrete and pre-cast concrete structures, for
geotechnical investigation, in foundation design, as well as for several other purposes.
Penetration and resolution of GPR depend primarily on the transmitting frequency of the equipment, the antenna
characteristics, the electrical properties of the ground or of the surveyed material, and the contrasting electrical
properties of the targets with respect to the surrounding medium. Generally there is a direct relationship between
the transmitter frequency and the resolution that can be obtained; conversely there is an inverse relationship
between frequency and penetration depth. GPR works best in dry ground environments, but can also give good
results in wet, saturated materials; it does not work well in saline conditions, in high-conductivity media and
through dense clays which limit signal penetration.
Different approaches can be employed in the processing of collected GPR data. Once data have been processed,
they still have to be analysed. This is a challenging problem, since interpretation of GPR radargrams is typically
non-intuitive and considerable expertise is needed. In the presence of a complex scenario, an accurate
electromagnetic forward solver is a fundamental tool for the validation of data interpretation. It can be employed
for the characterization of scenarios, as a preliminary step that precedes a survey, or to gain a posteriori a
better understanding of measured data. It can be used by GPR operators to identify the signatures generated by
uncommon targets or by composite structures. Repeated evaluations of the electromagnetic field scattered by
known targets can be performed by a forward solver, in order to estimate – through comparison with measured
data – the physics and geometry of the region investigated by the GPR.
It is possible to identify three main areas, in the GPR field, that have to be addressed in order to promote the use
of this technology in the civil engineering. These are: a) increase of the system sensitivity to enable the usability
in a wider range of conditions; b) research novel data processing algorithms/analysis tools for the interpretation of
GPR results; c) contribute to the development of new standards and guidelines and to training of end users, that
will also help to increase the awareness of operators.
In this framework, the COST Action TU1208 "Civil Engineering Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar",
proposed by Lara Pajewski, "Roma Tre" University, Rome, Italy, has been approved in November 2012 and is
going to start in April 2013. It is a 4-years ambitious project already involving 17 European Countries (AT, BE,
CH, CZ, DE, EL, ES, FI, FR, HR, IT, NL, NO, PL, PT, TR, UK), as well as Australia and U.S.A. The project will
be developed within the frame of a unique approach based on the integrated contribution of University researchers,
software developers, geophysics experts, Non-Destructive Testing equipment designers and producers, end users
from private companies and public agencies.
The main objective of the COST Action TU1208 is to exchange and increase scientific-technical knowledge
and experience of GPR techniques in civil engineering, whilst promoting the effective use of this safe and nondestructive
technique in the monitoring of systems. In this interdisciplinary Action, advantages and limitations
of GPR will be highlighted, leading to the identification of gaps in knowledge and technology. Protocols and
guidelines for European Standards will be developed, for an effective application of GPR in civil engineering.
A novel GPR will be designed and realized: a multi-static system, with dedicated software and calibration
procedures, able to construct real-time lane three-dimensional high resolution images of investigated areas.
Advanced electromagnetic-scattering and data-processing techniques will be developed. The understanding of
relationships between geophysical parameters and civil-engineering needs will be improved. Freeware software
will be released, for inspection and monitoring of structures and infrastructures, buried-object localization, shape
reconstruction and estimation of useful parameters. A high level training program will be organized. Mobility of
early career researchers will be encouraged.
The scientific work-plan of the Action is open, to ensure that experts all over the world, who did not participate in
the preparation of the proposal but are interested in the project, may join the Action and participate in its activities.
More information about the project can be found at

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords: GPR; ground-penetrating radar; COST Action TU1208; civil engineering applications
Subjects: Construction and engineering > Built environment
Construction and engineering > Civil and environmental engineering
Computer science, knowledge and information systems
Construction and engineering
Depositing User: Fabio Tosti
Date Deposited: 28 May 2016 14:44
Last Modified: 28 May 2016 14:44

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