Load-induced damage evaluation in reinforced concrete structures using dynamic response signatures
The purpose of this thesis is to assess and develop a non-destructive evaluation (NDE) procedure for evaluating the integrity of rectangular and square reinforced concrete (RC) slabs. This procedure employs both dynamic frequency and deformation response signatures to track changes in the slab following dynamic excitation. Such a procedure could provide a good basis for practising engineers to conduct nondestructive testing (NDT) and evaluation of general RC structures. The response of RC floor slabs to dynamic excitation have been experimentally studied at 1/3rd scale for two aspect ratios (square and rectangular), three concrete grades, and with and without cement replacement under clamped edge conditions. The model slabs were subjected to series of quasi-static loading and unloading sequences, to increasing load levels until failure was reached. At the unloaded part of each load cycle, the slabs were subjected to dynamic excitations, alternately using a hand-held, Bruel and Kjaer (B and K) impact hammer, and broad-band burst chirp shaker excitation. For the larger square slabs, at each unloaded part of the load cycle, a 265 gm steel ball bearing dropped from a fixed, standard height to provide more robust impulse excitation. All of the slabs were instrumented with optimally located accelerometers and strain gauges to capture the slab responses. The acceleration, deflection and strain readings resulting from the dynamic excitation were recorded at incremental load steps, from the initial unloaded state up to failure, and subsequently evaluated and analysed. The results show that the changes resulting from damage are readily observable, in the fundamental and higher modes of vibration and in the load-deflection and strain responses. These changes have been examined and analysed in both the time and frequency domains, and using other techniques, to establish the viability of this approach in evaluating the integrity of RC and other complex structures.