PITA Fiscal Year 2009 Projects - Innovative Infrastructure System
   Assessment Technology

Ultrasonic Transducers and Energy Focusing for Inspection of Submerged Piles

Principal Investigators: Irving J. Oppenheim, David W. Greve

Submerged steel piles are used in the construction of many bridges. Corrosion losses in such piles can create structural deficiency, and the mandatory inspection of such piles is currently very expensive because of the need to employ divers. WavesInSolids has developed an “Underwater Bridge Pile Inspection” technology, has published experimental research results that demonstrate the technology to be effective, and is actively engaged in developing the product for commercial use. The ultrasonic technology operates at particular frequencies and is applied to a structural shape (the H-pile) for which there exists relatively little established industry practice. The researchers at Carnegie Mellon will develop improved ultrasonic transducers to generate wave modes in H-piles that extend the range and detection threshold for this technology. The research activities are based on recent work that the Carnegie Mellon researchers have done on the excitation and propagation of guided waves, on the propagation of nearlylongitudinal waves in thick plates, and on the use of special waveforms to focus ultrasonic energy.