Pavement Non-Destructive Testing Equipment is a nondestructive geophysical method that “sees” underground and produces a record of subsurface features—without drilling, probing, digging, or coring. Since 1988, researchers at TTI have been developing, testing, and implementing ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology for TxDOT to use in its road repair and maintenance activities.
Pavement Non-Destructive Testing Equipment operates by transmitting pulses of high-frequency radio waves (electromagnetic energy) into the ground through a transducer or antenna. The transmitted energy is reflected from various buried objects or distinct contrasts between different earth materials. The antenna captures the reflected waves and stores them for subsequent analysis. TTI-developed software (COLORMAP) then converts these signals into information meaningful to engineers. Pavement Non-Destructive Testing Equipment can monitor changes in layer thickness of pavements and detect areas of either trapped moisture or air voids beneath the roadways.
On a national level, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is beginning efforts to implement use of Pavement Non-Destructive Testing Equipment across the country. Currently, TTI is continuing research and development of Pavement Non-Destructive Testing Equipment use on the state’s highways. Researchers have delivered training courses in numerous TxDOT districts, as well as created analysis software and interactive CD-ROM and web-based training tools for TxDOT personnel. TTI is working with Texas A&M University’s Department of Electrical Engineering to develop and implement more specialized antennas that can provide detail at varying depths. With three Pavement Non-Destructive Testing Equipment systems operating and active, TxDOT and TTI plan to continue supporting the research and working to add more units to the current stock.