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Ultrasonic Evaluation Methods Applicable to Polymer Concrete Composites



A Garbacz, Edward Garboczi


Polymer composites (PC) appear as useful materials for repair and protection of building structures, as well as for manufacturing pre-cast elements. In the case of pre-cast elements as well as repair materials, the usefulness and durability of polymer composites depend on the selection of the material composition for obtaining the composite with controllable properties. This task is a material design and optimization procedure. For repairs and protective coatings, the main problem is good bonding between PC composites and concrete substrate, including the effect of time. In both cases there is a need for quality control (verification tests) and diagnosis tests during structural service as well. This is available using destructive or semi-destructive tests. Such a way of testing, however, is expensive and of limited usability due to its destructive character. Therefore, the development of nondestructive assessment methods for polymer composites is an important need. Ultrasonic methods are among the most common nondestructive techniques used in material science and industry. Ultrasonic methods are well-known and standardized towards the traditional building materials, like: metals, cement, concrete, rocks. In the case of polymer concrete composites, ultrasonic methods are at the introductory stage.The obtained results of the project confirmed the usefulness of ultrasonic methods for nondestructive evaluation of polymer concrete composites in various applications. The pulse velocity method can be used for evaluation of the properties and homogeneity of the pre-case elements made from polymer concrete as well as for evaluation of adhesion in the multi-layer PC-CC systems (adhesion mapping). The ultrasonic echo method can be used as a complementary method for nondestructive estimation of PC layer thickness.Results of the project are presented in this report. The appendix contains a list of the eight publications that were presented during international and domestic conferences and published in proceedings and journals. The project's results are in general accord with worldwide scientific and engineering activities in nondestructive quality control of repair, e.g., Guide for Evaluation of Concrete Structures Prior to Rehabilitations, ACI 364.1R-94, 2001; the Family of European Standards 1504; Products and Systems for the Protection and Repair of Concrete Structure; and Activities of RILEM Technical Committees: TC-151 Adhesion Technology in Concrete Engineering - Physical and Chemical Aspects and TC-184 IFE Industrial Floors for Withstanding Harsh Environmental Attacks, Including Repair and Maintenance.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6975
Report Number


Industrial floors, material design, material science, polymer composites, pulse, repair materials, ultrasonic echo method, ultrasonic methods, velocity method


Garbacz, A. and Garboczi, E. (2003), Ultrasonic Evaluation Methods Applicable to Polymer Concrete Composites, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created March 31, 2003, Updated October 12, 2021