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Sonic Logging provides a method of assessing the homogeneity of concrete in piles or other mass foundation, such as diaphragm walls. Sonic logging has no inherent limitations on penetration depth of the size or shape of structure, which can be tested. No direct access is required to the concrete surface and the method can be used to test structures with low cut off levels at an early stage. Access tubes have to be cast into the structures to facilitate the tests and pre-selection of units to be tested is therefore necessary.
The tests are directed towards anomalies identified within a group of results, which may warrant further investigation.
For the ultrasonic test at least two tubes, either plastic or steel of minimum diameter 50mm, are cast in the pile (steel tubes are preferable as these are more durable, are less likely to be damaged and less prone to debonding with the concrete). The tubes must be completely filled with water to act as an acoustic coupling agent between the probes and the tube wall. A transmitter of ultrasonic pulses is lowered in one of those tubes and a receiver in another until they reach the base of the pile. Both the transmitter and receiver probes are connected to the CHUM software (a ruggedized pen computer), which records the first arrival time (FAT) and the energy attenuation as the probes are simultaneously raised to the top. As long as the FAT and the energy attenuation are relatively constant, one may deduce that the concrete quality is also uniform and the pile is therefore acceptable.
On the other hand, if at some level there is a noticeable increase in the FAT and / or in the energy attenuation, it means that the concrete at this level is inferior or defective. In such a case, the test may be repeated with the transmitter and receiver at different levels, a technique that enables the
determination of both location and extent of the defect (tomography). Consistent transmission characteristics indicate anomalous zones within the sonic transmission profile are immediately obvious and are noted.
Installing an increased number of tubes on the perimeter gives an almost complete coverage of the pile cross-section. This method of testing is especially suitable for testing large diameter piles. The piles can be tested after the concrete has gained some strength, usually at an age of seven days or more from casting.
Geosure has successfully carried out sonic coring tests on the following projects: