Imagine giving large concrete structures something similar to an ultrasound and getting images so detailed you can see cracks just a tenth of a millimeter long. That level of detail just isn’t possible now. Yet such capability could revolutionize how engineers assess the health of thick reinforced concrete infrastructure like dams and power plants and bridges.
A team of scientists led by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Hermann Fritz has just returned from a four-day reconnaissance mission in South Carolina assessing damage after record-breaking rainfall flooded large swaths of the state. They found several of the dams they inspected failed before they were overtopped by water.