Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Development of a wall climbing robot and ground penetrating radar system for non-destructive testing of vertical safety critical concrete structures
Author: Howlader, Md. Omar Faruq
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 2984
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This research aims to develop a unique adhesion mechanism for wall climbing robot to automate the technology of non-destructive testing (NDT) of large safety critical reinforced concrete structures such as nuclear power plants, bridge columns, dams etc. This research work investigates the effect of key design parameters involved in optimizing the adhesion force achieved from rare earth neodymium magnets. In order to penetrate a nominal concrete cover to achieve magnetic coupling with buried rebar and generate high enough adhesion force by using minimum number of permanent magnets, criteria such as distance between multiple magnets, thickness of flux concentrator are evaluated by implementing finite element analysis (FEA). The proposed adhesion module consists of three N42 grade neodymium magnets arranged in a unique arrangement on a flux concentrator called yoke. The preliminary FEA results suggest that, using two yoke modules with minimum distance between them generate 82 N higher adhesion force compared to a single module system with higher forceto-weight ratio of 4.36. Presence of multiple rebars in a dense mesh setting can assist the adhesion module to concentrate the magnetic flux along separate rebars. This extended concentration area has led to higher adhesion force of 135.73 N as well as enabling the robot to take turns. Results suggest that, having a 50×50 mm rebar meshing can sustain steep robot rotational movement along it’s centre of gravity where the adhesion force can fall as low as 150 N. A small, mobile prototype robot with on-board force sensor is built that exhibited 3600 of manoeuvrability on a 50×50 mm meshed rebars test rig with maximum adhesion force of 108 N at 35 mm air gap. Both experiment and simulationresults prove that the magnetic adhesion mechanism can generate efficient adhesion force for the climbing robot to operate on vertical reinforced concrete structures. In terms of the NDT sensor, an in-depth analysis of the ground penetrating radar (GPR) is carried out to develop a low cost operational laboratory prototype. A one-dimensional numerical framework based on finite difference time domain (FDTD) method is developed to model response behaviour of a GPR. The effects of electrical properties such as dielectric constant, conductivity of the media are evaluated. A Gaussian shaped pulse is used as source which propagates through the 1D array grid, and the pulse interactions at different media interfaces are investigated. A real life application of GPR to detect a buried steel bar in 1 m thick concrete block is modelled, and the results present 100% accurate detection of the steel bar along with measured depth of the concrete cover. The developed framework could be implemented to model multi-layer dielectric blocks with detection capability of various buried objects. Experimental models are built by utilizing a proposed antenna miniaturization technique of dipole antenna with additional radiating arms. The resultant reflection coefficient values indicate a reduction of 55% and 44% in length reduction compared to a conventional 100 MHz and 200 MHz dipole antenna respectively. The GPR transmitting pulse generator features an enhanced tuneable feature to make the GPR system more adaptable to various environmental conditions. The prototype pulse generator circuit can produce pulses with variable width from 750 ps to 10 ns. The final assembled robotic GPR system’s performance is validated by its capability of detecting and localizing an aluminium sheet and a rebar of 12 mm diameter buried under a test rig built of wood to mimic the concrete structure environment. The final calculations reveal a depth error of +0.1 m. However, the key focus of this work is to prove the design concept and the error in measurement can be addressed by utilizing narrower bandwidth pulse that the proposed pulse generator is capable of generating. In general, the proposed robotic GPR system developed in this research proves the concept of feasibility of undertaking inspection procedure on large concrete structures in hazardous environments that may not be accessible to human inspectors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral