Experimental analysis of 3D cracking in drying soils using ground-penetrating radar
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This paper describes the capabilities of a novel technique to investigate crack formation and propagation in drying soils. The technique is a relatively simple, non-destructive indirect technique using a ground-penetrating-radar (GPR) system to detect cracks that form and propagate inside a soil specimen during desiccation. Although GPR devices have been used for multiple applications, their use in soils for the detection of small desiccation cracks has not been demonstrated yet. The experiment and the methodology used to test the accuracy of a small compact commercial GPR device for crack identification are described. The main objective was to identify what type of signals and what crack width and separation between them can be detected using the GPR device. The results indicate that cracks of 1 or 2mm wide can be detected depending on its position and shape, whereas sub-millimeter cracks are undetectable with the currently existing devices in the market. Regardless of this limitation, the GPR method can be useful to find time-related bounds of when the cracks appear, to point at their location and sometimes at the separation between two of them. Detection of cracks with origin at the bottom or within the specimen was accomplished with this system. Distances of 5 cm or more between cracks can be detected and measured, as well, with accuracy.
CitationLevatti, H., Prat, P., Ledesma, A., Cuadrado, A., Cordero, J.A. Experimental analysis of 3D cracking in drying soils using ground-penetrating radar. "Geotechnical Testing journal", Març 2017, vol. 40, núm. 2, p. 1-23.