Automatic detection of bridge deck condition from ground penetrating radar images

Zhe Wendy Wang, Mengchu Zhou, Gregory G. Slabaugh, Jiefu Zhai, Tong Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Accurate assessment of the quality of concrete bridge decks and identification of corrosion induced delamination lead to economic management of bridge decks. It has been demonstrated that ground penetrating radar (GPR) can be successfully used for such purposes. The growing demand on GPR has brought into the challenge of developing automatic processes necessary to produce a final accurate interpretation. However, there have been few publications targeting at automatic detection of bridge deck delamination from GPR data. This paper proposes a novel method using partial differential equations to detect rebar (or steel-bar) mat signatures of concrete bridges from GPR data so that the delamination within the bridge deck can be effectively located. The proposed algorithm was tested on both synthetic and real GPR images and the experimental results have demonstrated its accuracy and reliability, even for diminished image contrast and low signal-to-noise ratio. Therefore, an accurate deterioration map of the bridge deck can be generated automatically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5672563
Pages (from-to)633-640
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Automatic detection
  • ground penetrating radar (GPR)
  • image processing
  • partial differential equations (PDEs)


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