Damage Assessment of Steel-Plate Concrete Composite Walls by using Infrared Thermography
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Steel-plate concrete (SC) composite systems are being promoted for use in containment structures for the latest generation of nuclear power plants and sustainable buildings instead of reinforced concrete because of the increased quality and cost savings associated with modularization. Although the use of SC system construction has been studied extensively for nearly 20 years, little-to-no attention has been devoted to the development of structural health monitoring (SHM) techniques for the inspection of concrete condition behind the steel plates. Assessment of the infill concrete is technically challenging because the faceplates must be removed, which is an extremely difficult undertaking, unless the faceplate is badly damaged and has buckled, in which case the inspection becomes unnecessary. The objective of this Ph. D dissertation was to advance the state of the art in steel-plate concrete composite systems by developing a structural health monitoring technique for monitoring the initiation of progression of damage of concrete behind the steel plates. In particular, the feasibility of using active infrared thermography to detect damage in SC composite shear walls was investigated. It was hypothesized that analysis of images taken in the infrared spectra can be used to assess the soundness of the concrete infill. The challenges of using infrared thermography for this diagnostic feat are brought to light as contrast and statistical techniques are applied to thermograms recorded from defect-free and damaged SC-composite specimen.