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UIC Code

778-4 R

1st Edition, 01.07.1989. Revised Draft 10-09- 2008, 27-11-2008, 14-01-2009, 15-022009, 18-04-2009
Reviewed by the Panel of Structural Experts 04-02-2009

Defects in railway bridges and procedures for


maintenance

Union Internationale des Chemins de fer, UIC


Internationaler Eisenbahnverband
International Union of Railways

Summary
This leaflet gives guidelines and recommendations covering procedures for the maintenance
and strengthening of railway bridges. Arrangements and methods for inspection are presented;
defects are described; methods for monitoring and assessment are given; and procedures for
maintenance, repair, strengthening and renewal are defined.
The purpose is to update the 1989 edition of UIC Code 778-4R and to implement results from a
European Integrated Research Project (2003-2007) on Sustainable Bridges Assessment for
Future Traffic Demands and Longer Lives (TIP3-CT-2003-001653) within the 6th Framework
Programme.

Table of Contents
Summary ..........................................................................................................................................2
Table of Contents .............................................................................................................................2
1 - Inspection of railway bridges and detection of defects...............................................................3
1.1 - General .................................................................................................................................3
1.2 - Arrangements for inspection................................................................................................6
1.2.1 - Detail and frequency .....................................................................................................6
1.2.2 - Routine inspections .......................................................................................................6
1.2.3 - Principal Inspections .....................................................................................................6
1.2.4 - General Inspections.......................................................................................................7
1.2.5 - Documents ....................................................................................................................8
2 - Defects in existing bridges..........................................................................................................9
2.1 Definitions...........................................................................................................................9
2.2 Detection and measurements of defects ..............................................................................9
2.2.1 - Overview of methods and equipment ...........................................................................9
2.2.2 Methods for metal bridges..........................................................................................11
2.2.3 Methods for Masonry Bridges....................................................................................13
2.2.4 Methods for Concrete Bridges ...................................................................................15
2.2.5 Methods for Bearings and Foundations .....................................................................17
2.3 - Classification of defects .....................................................................................................19
3 - Monitoring ................................................................................................................................20
3.1 Testing methods: ..................................................................................................................20
3.2 Data processing methods:.....................................................................................................20
3.3 Sensors: ................................................................................................................................20
4 - Methods for Load and Resistance Assessment .........................................................................21
5 - Maintenance, repair / strengthening and renovation.................................................................22
5.1 - Maintenance ......................................................................................................................22
5.2 - Repair ................................................................................................................................22
5.3 - Strengthening ....................................................................................................................23
5.4 - Renewals ...........................................................................................................................24
Bibliography...................................................................................................................................25
Appendix A Notation .................................................................................................................27

1 - Inspection of railway bridges and detection of defects


1.1 - General
Regular inspection is a means of keeping a constant watch on the daytoday condition of
structures, by noting defects as they occur and identifying the cause of any damage discovered.
The actual condition must be compared with the benchmark required for the structure in service.
If it is established from inspection that the structure has only minor defects, these results can be
used to specify and organise the necessary maintenance work.
If, however, more extensive damage is discovered, the structure must be repaired and restored
to satisfactory condition, and the cause of the damage should be investigated and put to rights
(see Figures 1, 2 and 3).
One of the main considerations is that the structure should be in suitable condition to allow the
normal movement of rail traffic over the line on which it is located ,with the required level of
safety at all times.
If line operating parameters are changed (for example, because of heavier axle loads or higher
running speeds), then a knowledge of the actual condition will be a factor in the decision as to
whether the structure needs to be strengthened or whether complete renewal is necessary.
Engineers must adopt the engineering solution which will cause least disturbance to rail traffic
operations. However, the overall economics of the engineering work must be taken into
consideration.
Those responsible for the project and bridge designers should give preference to types of
construction which allow easy inspection, maintenance and repair or renovation of the structure
throughout its service life.
In the rest of this leaflet, reference will be made to reports produced by the EC-project
Sustainable Bridges Assessment for Future Traffic Demands and Longer Lives, carried out
between 2003 and 2007. The reports are available from: www.sustainablebridges.net.
For masonry bridges, additional information is given in UIC Code 778-3R (2009)

Recommendations for the inspection, assessment and maintenance of masonry arch bridges.
A standard for the terminology for maintenance is given in EN 13306 (2001).

Regular operation and maintenance


Political and economical requirements
(higher loads and speeds, increased traffic volume,
extended service life, etc. )
Regular inspections
followed by condition
assessment
(qualitative information)

Optional
Structural Health
Monitoring
(qualitative information)

BRIDGE
MANAGEMENT
(Administration)

Regular, minor
maintenance
(preventive, corrective)

Bridge
Management System
(more/less advanced)

Figure 1. Regular operation and maintenance of bridges. If there are questions regarding
safety, serviceability or durability, action can be taken according to Figures 2 and 3.
From SB-GUIDE (2007).

Special stage
Investigation and assessment
Special inspections
supported by more/less
advanced tests
(quantitative information)

Focused
monitoring through
limited time period
(quantitative information)

BRIDGE
ASSESSMENT
(Carried out in
phases)

Required
performance
confirmed?

Decision making and action taken

Redefine use

Intensify
monitoring

Strengthening
and/or repair

Replacement

Figure 2. Special stage of operation and maintenance of bridges when there is a special concern
regarding . safety, serviceability or durability. After decisions are made and actions taken (the
last line in the figure), the bridge is returned to regular operation and maintenance according to
Figure 1. The assessment procedure is further illustrated in Figure 3 taken from SB-Guide 2007.

Doubts

PHASE 1 - INITIAL
Site visit
Study of documents
Simple calculation

Doubts confirmed?

Yes

PHASE 2- INTERMEDIATE
Material investigations
Detailed calculations/analysis
Further inspections and monitoring

PHASE 3 - ENHANCED

No
Compliance with
codes and
regulations?

Simple repair or
strengthening
solve the
problem?

No

Yes

No

Refined calculations/analysis
Laboratory examinations and
field testing
Statistical modelling
Reliability-based assessment
Economical decision analysis

Yes
Simple
strengthening
of bridge

Update
maintenance,
inspection and
monitoring strategy

Yes

Sufficient load
capacity? Acceptable
serviceability?
No

Unchanged
use of bridge

Redefine use and


update maintenance,
inspection and
monitoring strategy

Strengthening
of bridge

Demolition
of bridge

Figure 3. Flow chart for the assessment of existing bridges as part of the process with the
special stage of operation and maintenance in Figure 2. Three phases are identified: Initial,
Intermediate and Enhanced, depending on the complexity of the questions involved. Taken from
SB-LRA (2007).

1.2 - Arrangements for inspection


1.2.1 - Detail and frequency
Inspections should be made with varying degrees of detail and at varying frequencies,
depending on the type of inspection and taking account of the nature and previous condition of
the structure. Apart from ordinary surveillance when train and track staff continuously monitor
the bridge when passing it; a distinction is made between three levels of inspection:
- Routine inspection: Annual inspection from ground level by trained examiner.
- Principal inspection: Refined visual inspection with focus on safety every (2nd or) 3rd year .
These inspections can also provide the opportunity for simultaneous special in-depth
inspections, not necessarily covering the entire structure, but perhaps for dealing with a
particular component or problem area.
- General inspection: Extremely detailed inspection with examination of all parts of the bridge
within touching distance (with hammer tapping on concrete surfaces) every 4 to 6 years.
However, the inspection frequency should reflect the nature of the bridge and the defects
observed. In practice this means that the inspection frequency will vary according to bridge
type and condition. The general inspection should result in production of a full and detailed
report on the condition of the structure.
The final inspection made on handover of the structure or before its commissioning, or following
major repair work, provides a benchmark for the required condition.
Special equipment and facilities will generally be required for these inspections, during which
structures should be subjected to visual examination in order to locate any defects with the aid of
special examination techniques.

1.2.2 - Routine inspections


The inspector should be trained and have a basic understanding of bridges.
The standard equipment includes basic tools such as hammers, cameras and lighting facilities.
Foundations should be inspected at low water. Please look down.

1.2.3 - Principal Inspections


The inspector should be aware of the methods given in section 2.2 below.
A principal inspection consists of a visual examination of all accessible parts of the bridge
without using special access equipment. All defects which can be visually detected from the
ground must be recorded and the condition of the structure must be evaluated in an appropriate
manner.
Continuous monitoring may be used to keep a check on particular developments or a new
situation arising between two periodical inspections . By means of such monitoring, defects
which could become a hazard to railway operations can be monitored carefully.

Such inspections may need to be supplemented by information from outside specialists.


Details of methods for monitoring are given in SB-MON (2007) and for masonry bridges in UIC
Leaflet 778-3 (2009).

1.2.4 - General Inspections


General inspections should be carried out by bridge experts. They should be assisted by
specialist staff, who should be well experienced in carrying out examinations besides having the
necessary technical knowledge. They should not only be able to identify defects but also to
ensure that their development can be monitored through suitable measurements to determine
movements, displacement, reductions in cross-section due to stress-induced corrosion. , etc.
A firstlevel assessment of the capacity of the bridge could be carried out in conjunction with the
inspection. Likeliest causes of different damages should be recorded. Need to repair or further
inspect or monitor the bridge as well as traffic limitations should be defined in the inspection
report.
Suitable means of access to the various parts of the structure, ranging from ladders to special
scaffolding, should be arranged. Depending on the topography and on the features of the
structure to be inspected (Iength, height, etc.), these aids, depending on the requirements of the
railway concerned, may be subdivided as follows:
- For very long viaducts spanning inaccessible terrain, it may be economical to equip the
structure, at the construction stage, with an inspection platform, or at least with longitudinal rails
on which an inspection vehicle can travel, the latter being brought on site only when required.
- Rail-mounted / lowering platforms. This equipment is mounted on a rail vehicle and has an
inspection platform at its outer end, with a system of hydraulically-operated articulated arms that
can be controlled and operated either from the platform or from the vehicle.
Such units can be used for full inspections using only one line of a doubletrack section. They are
accompanied by a service vehicle of the Pemanent Way Department.
- Lifting platforms mounted on rail, road or road/rail vehicles. These platforms mounted on a rail
vehicle, road vehicle or road/rail vehicle, can be moved by rail or road and are provided with an
inspection platform located either on the extension of a double articulated arm or on an arm with
several telescopic sections. Examinations are carried out either from the inspection platform
itself or from the driving cab of the rail, road or road/rail vehicle.
Examples of methods are given in section 2.2 below, in SB-MON (2007), chapter 7 Monitoring
tool-box and, for masonry bridges, in UIC Code 778-3R (2009).
Special investigations such as the analysis of vibration behaviour to assess the condition of the
structure; mineralogical and microscopic analyses to diagnose material conditions, ultrasonic
testing or radiography for cables etc., are matters for teams of experts to address.
Preparations should be made beforehand to facilitate inspection, for example:
- cleaning of bearing areas;

- installation of scaffolding;
- removal of certain elements to facilitate inspection of main structural components;
- for piers and foundations it may be necessary to use divers.

1.2.5 - Documents
Documents such as design drawings, geotechnical surveys, calculations, construction
documents and the results of the acceptance inspection of the structure provide basic inputs for
the inspections. The documents shall be available during the inspections in paper or digital form
(e.g in a lap-top computer)
The reports of subsequent inspections shall be based on the surveys of the actual condition of
the structure. They shall contain details of irregularities discovered or of the development of
defects revealed by earlier inspections.
Details shall also be given of the maintenance work necessary in the short and long term;
together with any operations carried out since the last inspection.

2 - Defects in existing bridges


2.1 Definitions
A list of definitions and notations is given in Appendix A

2.2 Detection and measurements of defects


2.2.1 - Overview of methods and equipment
- Visual examination;
- Detection and monitoring of cracks of all kinds by means of recording devices, strain gauges,
crackwidth gauges, glued indicators, ultrasonic equipment, measuring shims, extensometers,.
etc.;
- Measurement of deformation under static and dynamic loading, measurement of progressive
deformation, measurement of bearing reactions and rotations;
- Levelling;
- Analysis of dynamic behaviour (seismograph or accelerometer).

The following examples of available equipment are given in SB-ICA (2007), Table 5.2. In SBICA (2007) there is also a tool box for non destructive testing (NDT) methods with a one-page
summary of each method explaining its merits and drawbacks. The background to the tool-box is
described in Helmerich et al (2007, 2008a, b). Methods for masonry arch bridges are also given
in UIC Code 778-3R (2009).

Table 2.1 Overview of methods and equipment

Visual and Simple Methods

Roughness depth test


Liquid penetrant test
Sclerometric test
Hardness

External visual inspection, usually performed regularly in routine surveys


or inspections, limited by human factors
Internal visual inspection with devices through holes in hidden or covered
parts of steel or concrete structures, experience required, inspection
limited by the length of the cable
Evaluation of hollows by air or fluid pressure
Fluid or air permeability of concrete surfaces as measurement of
durability,
Depth of reinforcement in concrete structure, thickness of the concrete
cover, reliable equipment available on the market
Investigation of concrete surface roughness
Surface cracks in welds of steel connections.
Hardness of young concrete. From Greek skleroo, harden
Hardness of steel

Thermal Heat Transfer


Transient (active)
thermography
Pulse-phase thermography

Debonding of tiles, plaster, mortar, carbonfibre reinforced polymers


(CFRP), determination of humidity/ moisture content
Debonding, near surface voids with optimised contrast

External visual inspection


Internal visual inspection
(video scope)
Void volume measurement
Air (Torrent) Permeability
Cover measurement

Acoustic, Electric and Electromagnetic Methods


Acoustic emission
Detection of growing active cracks
Modified Acoustic Emission
Survey of known active cracks, in laboratory-modified AE for search of
(AE)
active cracks
Low strain pile integrity
Pile length, integrity
testing
Parallel seismic
Pile / sheet depth
Cross-hole tomography
Soil, parameters, consolidation beneath embankments
Cross-hole sonic logging
Material quality in foundations
Impulse-radar echo
Radar tomography
Thickness of concrete elements, grouting level of tendon ducts,
localisation of rebars and tendon ducts
radar
Electrical conductivity
Investigation of rebars and tendon ducts
Electromagnetic induction
Cracks in tendon wires (slightly destructive)
Impulse-radar echo
Cracks from point loads, longitudinal cracks, surface cracks due to lack of
bond in more layered arches, spandrel wall separation, spalling or mortar
loss
Radar tomography
Leaching, inner cracks from freeze-thaw-cycling, hollows, moisture (in
research)
Ground penetrating radar
Evaluation of layers and voids in embankments and subsoil
Radar scouring
Scouring around stream piles
Electrical conductivity
Moisture content, backfill type and quality
Electrical conductivity
Moisture, soil type
Galvanostatic pulse
Corrosion state of reinforcement, properties of cover concrete (moisture,
deteriorations)
Linear Polarisation
Corrosion state of reinforcement, covercrete thickness (moisture,
deteriorations)
Sliding collar
Cable-stayed bridges
Ultrasonic-echo (US-echo)
Thickness measurement, localisation of reinforcement or tendon ducts,
Dry coupling using US-array voids in RC
Ultrasonic transmission
Localising reinforcement or tendon ducts, voids in the concrete
tomography
Impact-echo
Thickness measurement, localisisation of reinforcement or tendon ducts,
Impact-echo
Investigation of crack depth
Ultrasonic-echo
Residual thickness of mild and modern steel plates, weld defects, surface
cracks, cracks parallel to the surface, surface crack depth, inhomogeneity
Ultrasonic-phased array
Weld defects, inhomogeneity, corrosion mapping (established by industry)
Ultrasonic emission
Inclusions and segregations in steel plates
Eddy current inspection
Cracks in rivet holes, cracks in very thin metallic plates
Combined Ultrasonic
Inspection
Ultrasonic-echo (masonry)

Radiographic Methods
Radiography with isotopes/
steel (RI)

Ultrasonic velocity (transit time tomography), Residual stress in rivets


Detection of deterioration

Detection of cracks in hidden elements and inhomogeneities in modern


steel or connections (welds)

10

Radiography with x-ray/


Detection of voids in RC, localisation of reinforcement and tendon ducts
cobalt
Spectral-chemical and Potential Methods
Electrical potential field
Corrosion state of reinforcement
measurement
Laser-Induced Breakdown
Analysis of chemical elements on surface and near surface
Spectroscopy
Sparkle Emission
Analysis of chemical elements of the steel
Spectroscopy
Sulphur print
Chemical analysis for identification of the used iron/ steel
(slightly destructive)

Advanced Data Acquisition and Evaluation Methods


Automated scanning system Parallel use of different sensors for NDT-investigation of concrete bridge
slabs
Synthetic aperture- focusing Reverse projection of wave images
technique
Data fusion
Superposition of results from different NDT-measurements

2.2.2 Methods for metal bridges


Examination on site:
corrosion and reduction of cross-section:
- measurements of corrosion depth using depth gauges;
- measurements of residual depth by ultrasonic means or by drilling;
- direct measurements of the progress of corrosive attack;
- state of corrosion protection;
detection and monitoring of cracks in the steel:
- by visual examination with or without dyepenetration technique;
- detection by radiography or ultrasonic method (whenever possible) when looking for
non-visible defects;
detection of loose connections involving rivets and bolts:
- by visual examination;
- by tapping in a careful way so that the rivets do not get harmed
- with a torque spanner;
detection of cracks in welded joints:
- by visual examination using a lamp, with or without dye penetration technique ;
- by radiography or ultrasonic methods in cases of doubt.

Laboratory testing to determine:


fatigue, composition, tensile strength, notch ductility, elongation, micrography, testing of
weldability.
Attention is drawn to the difficulties involved in taking samples, and to the problem of obtaining
representative samples.
Metal sampling should ensure that, with a limited number of investigations and laboratory tests,

11

the most accurate information can be obtained on the nature and characteristics of the materials
used in the structure.
The problem, however, is:
1) that it is often difficult to remove a sufficient amount of steel from structural elements to
provide a representative sample;
2) to identify lowstressed structural components for sampling to prevent significant weakening of
the structure;
3) whether the sample taken is adequately representative of the structure as a whole (e.g. old
iron or steel bridges, in which materials of varying origin have been used on construction or
repair).
In Table 2.2 NDT methods are given. A combination of methods is often useful.

Table 2.2. Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Methods for Metal Bridges
The following table gives information about restrictions and limitation of NDT-methods, SB-ICA
(2007), Table 5.4.
NDT-Method

Investigated details

Limitation in use.
Accuracy of the method including
characteristics of the material

Remarks

Visual

Contamination, loss of
material, deterioration,
displacements, cracks
Listening for audible
sounds from tapping the
surface with a hammer
Propagating cracks
2D/ 3 D-Localisation of
active cracks
Defects in thin layers

Cracks <0.1 mm, only surface


observation

Depends on span

Provides an approximate
understanding of the condition

Simple and inexpensive

Not for stable (not propagating) cracks


~ 10% of the distance between sensors

Research level

Max depth 10 mm, local resolution >


2mm,
Only magnetisable materials
Crack opening > 0,1 mm, length > 1
mm, crack hole investigation during
replacement of rivets
Remove old colour
width > 0,1 mm
Length > 1mm
Maximum investigated plate thickness:
70 mm

Follow safety instructions of


the railways when using
hand held tools
Documentation only with
camera

For example:. use of reference grooves


for calibration:
Width x depth:
0.11mm x 0.95 mm
Depth/width ratio: < 25

General inspection, in all


phases of the
reassessment as needed

Hammer
tapping
Acoustic
Emission (AT)
Eddy current
test
Magnetic
particle test

Surface cracks

Colour
penetration
test (PT)
Radiography
(RT)

Surface cracks,

Ultrasonic
echo (UT)

Weldroot testing,
residual plate thickness,
thickness of surface
coating

Internal voids in
sandwiched elements

12

Documentation only with


photography
rd

Last phase (3 ) in
reassessment

Ultrasonic
array (UTarray)

Internal void depth and


lateral dimensions,
defect inhomogeneity

Multi-channel systems for adaptation to


special tasks

rd

Last phase (3 ) in
reassessment

The EU (JRC) has published recommendations for the Assessment of existing steel structures
together with the ECCS [EUR23252EN].

2.2.3 Methods for Masonry Bridges


A UIC project on Masonry Arch Bridges, UIC Masonry (2008), has produced recommendations
for inspection, assessment and maintenance of masonry arch bridges, UIC Code 778-3R (2009).
Standard methods used involve:
- In-situ visual examination (if necessary with the aid of an endoscope);
- Sampling, and laboratory tests to determine porosity, density, frost sensitivity, composition,
weathering.
In Table 2.3 NDT methods are given. A combination of methods is often useful.

Table 2.3. Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Methods for Masonry Bridges
The following table gives information about restrictions and limitation of NDT-methods, SB-ICA
(2007), Table 5.4. Information is also given in UIC Code 778-3R (2009) Tables 3.1- 3.6

13

NDT-Method

Investigated details

Limitation in use.
Accuracy of the method including
characteristics of the material

Remarks

Visual

Qualitative values:
geometry cracks (length,
depth), heavy
displacements,
longitudinal/ diagonal
cracks in the barrel,
vegetation, drainage,
humidity, heavy
settlement
Listening for audible
sounds from hammertapping the surface

Cracks <1.0 mm, only surface


observation. An endoscope may be
useful

Inspection time depends


on span

Provides an approximate
understanding of the condition

Simple and inexpensive

Radar-echo
500 MHz,
900 MHz,
(Ground
penetrating
radar, Georadar, Impulse
radar)
Radar echo
200-500Hz

Arch barrel and wing wall


thickness, retaining wall
inhomogeneity,
embankments/ hollows,
heavy deterioration
Humidity,
Metal inclusions
(anchors)
Back fill thickness,
ballast thickness

Appropriate for depth maximum 2 m


(lower frequencies)
Defect size: in homogeneous material:
~ 5% of the depth, in heterogeneous
material: ~ 10 % of the depth,

Access from one side,


Use in assessment
phase 3

< 5 m depth
in heterogeneous material: ~ 10 % of
the depth,

Ultrasonic
echo (US)
(US-array
without
coupling
agent):
transversal: 50
kHz
longitudinal:
100 kHz
Acoustic
emission

Local inhomogeneity,
Thickness,
Metal inclusions

Depending on the condition of the


masonry
Defect size: 10-30 mm
Train traffic noise, building activities
such as drilling, anchor dysfunction or
other noise can influence acoustic
signal acquisition

EU-funded project
Saferail has developed
new wagon with 4
antennas
Access from one side:
Depending on the task to
solve: Frequency 50-300
kHz.
Assessment phase 3

Localisation of active
cracks

10 % of the sensor distance in the


array, Influenced by low temperature,
defects, deformation rate

SIP-spectral
induced
polarisation

Humidity, inhomogeneity
visualised in 2Dconductivity images

Flat-jack test
Single or
double*

Determination of stress
under service in the
masonry

Hole-drilling
method*

Stress-strain behaviour
in one single point

Hammer
tapping

Method feasible,
No final standards, since
research is ongoing
Applicable to backfill,
masonry

Local near surface, information about


the stress behaviour/elasticity of the
masonry, locally destructive resolution
~ 0,1 N/ mm2
Only local and superficial information
Accuracy of strain gauge: + 1

14

Standard test (Rilem,


ASTM)

2.2.4 Methods for Concrete Bridges


For reinforced- concrete bridges (in-situ frames, slab bridges and girder bridges):
 detection of inadequate reinforcement: number, diameter and location of bars, fracture
and corrosion of reinforcement, concrete cover (depth gauge);
 detection of cavities within the structure.
 measurement of depth of carbonisation, measurement of cracks, strength measurement;
 testing of samples in laboratory:. compressive strength, composition, density, porosity,
frost sensitivity, tensile strength, degree of weathering.

For prestressed-concrete bridges (bridges with channels/ducts, slab bridges, girder bridges,
box- girder bridges, etc.):
detection of inadequate reinforcement and of cavities in the bridge structure as for
reinforcedconcrete bridges;
detection of defects in cable ducts: incorrect alignment of ducts and faulty grouting,
fracture and corrosion;
detection of defects in prestressing strands and wires: number, dimensions, position,
fracture and corrosion.
testing of samples in the laboratory: tensile strength, fatigue, composition, elongation,
flexural strength, weldability.
Additional measures for steel/concrete composite bridges:
detection of separation between steel and concrete by radiography (in particular
gammagraphy),
In Table 2.4 NDT methods are given. A combination of methods is often useful.

Table 2.4. Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Methods for Concrete Bridges
The following table gives information about restrictions and limitation of NDT-methods, SB-ICA
(2007), Table 5.4.

15

NDT-Method

Investigated details

Limitation in use.
Accuracy of the method
includingcharacteristics of the
material

Remarks

Visual

Contamination, loss,
deterioration,
displacements, cracks

Cracks <0.1 mm, only surface


observation, loose cover

Inspection time depends on


span

Hammer tapping

Listening for audible


sounds from hammertapping the surface

Provides an approximate
understanding of the condition

Simple and inexpensive

Radar-echo
500 MHz,
900 MHz, 1.5
GHz
(Groundpenetrating
radar, Georadar, impulse
radar)
Radar
transmission 500
MHz, 900 MHz,
1.5 GHz
Ultrasonic echo
(US)
(US-array
without coupling
agent):
transversal: 50
kHz
longitudinal: 100
kHz
Acoustic
emission

Girder-web thickness,
Slab thickness,
Embankment/ Retaining
wall reinforcement, Tendon
ducts, Inhomogeneity,
Humidity,
Metal inclusions (anchors)

Appropriate for depth max. 2 m


Defect size: in homogeneous
material: ~ 5% of the depth, in
heterogeneous material:
~ 10 % of the depth,
Dense reinforcement near surface
prevents deep penetration.

Access from one side,


Use in assessment phase 3

Girder web thickness,


Reinforcement of tendon
ducts,
Inhomogeneity
Reinforcement, tendons
location, grouting of
tendons,
Local inhomogeneity,
Thickness,
Metal inclusions

Method in course of development,


better imaging of inhomogeneity
expected

Research level,
Access from both sides

Depth: 5-40 cm
Defect size: 10-30 mm
Train traffic noise, building activities
such as drilling, anchor dysfunction
or other noise can influence the
acoustic signal acquisition,

Access from one side:


Depending on the task to be
solved: Frequency 50-300
kHz.
Assessment phase 3

Localisation of active
cracks

Method feasible,
No final standards, since
research is ongoing

Ultrasonic air
coupling

Voids

10 % of the sensor distance in the


array, Influenced by
low temperature, defects,
deformation rate
Reflected surface waves influence
the emitted waves

Impact-echo

Thickness, delamination
between two concrete
layers, location of voids,
quantification of cracks
Near subsurface voids,
delamination, moisture,
plaster delamination,
control of strengthening
measures
Metal inclusions, cables,
wires, tubes

Train traffic noise, building activities


such as drilling, anchor dysfunction
or other noise can influence the
acoustic signal acquisition,
Safe , no radiation, Accuracy
depends on depth of the void,
camera, distance and further limits,
for example: 1m2: 65000 pxl: + 1
cm2
Defect size ~20 x 1-2 mm,
Restriction due to radiation, no traffic
during test

Surface waves may influence


the result, solution: IE in
transmission

Active thermography

Radiography
(cobalt, -ray)

16

Research level

No moving / scanning
technique

Last phase (3rd) in


reassessment

2.2.5 Methods for Bearings and Foundations


A Bearing defects
Bearings are treated in EN 1337 (2000), which addresses the following topics :
- Bearings,
- Structural members,
- Structural design,
- Structural systems,
- Rocker bearings,
- Roller bearings,
- Cylindrical-roller bearings,
- Mountings (bearing components),
- Dimensions,
- Bridges,
-Joints,
- Sliding joints,
- Movement joints,
- Components,
- Construction,
- Symbols.
Recommendations are also given by the Association for Bearings, see VHFL (2009).
1 - Functional defects:
- examination on site, visual and aural;
- measurement of the positioning and of deformation of the bearing elements;
- inadequate sliding or rolling movement, excessive transverse or longitudinal displacements,
tilting or axial movement of the roller track.
- dirt around bearings,

2 - Material defects:
- chemical; mechanical and metallurgical testing of samples.
- cracking of mechanical or elastomeric parts
- corrosion
3 - Defects in bearing fasteners:
- detection of loose baseplates or of bedding-mortar break-up.
B Defects in foundations
1 - Methods applicable to all types of foundations:
- visual examination on site, where necessary after excavation of inspection pits;
- measurements of tilting with the aid of plumb lines, and twist measurements using deflection
meters (inclinometers);
- measurements of twist at the bearings;
- ground investigation with the aid of soil samples (penetrometer, pressure gauge);
- examination of borings:

17

water pressure tests, visual examination (endoscope, TV camera), recording of the various
parameters with the aid of probes.
2 - Specific methods applicable to underwater foundations :
- visual examination and probing by divers or frogmen;
- depth soundings (underwater topography) and recording of the bottom bed profile, adjacent to
the foundations, repeated at regular intervals to determine bed profile patterns;
- underwater cameras and video recordings ;
- use of dyes to follow the route of water courses and locate places where the water reappears.
Examples of methods for foundations and transition zones are given in SB-ICA(2007), chapter 9.
C Waterproofing defects
- Visual examination:

Looking for traces of water penetration, rust staining. efflorescence,


stalactites, white marks along cracks or working joints;

Localised removal of ballast to detect waterproofing defects or separation of edge sealing


Inspection of drainage (filter system, outlets, weepholes, drains),

- Taking of samples to check permeability under hydrostatic head.

In Table 2.5 NDT methods are given.

Table 2.5. Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Methods for Foundations


The following table gives limitation and interference of NDT-methods with railway operating
infrastructure and rough timeconsumption (only for pure measurement without equipment
installation), SB-ICA (2007), Table 5.4.
NDTMethod

Investigated
details

Limitation in use.
Accuracy of the method
including. characteristics of
the material

Remarks

Radar echo
Radar echo
array
200-800
MHz

Soil layers,
thickness, scour,
humidity
track-bed condition

Penetration depth depending on


frequency:
Max. depth 10m,

According to requirements for the test and


resolution

SIP
Spectral

Sonic-velocity
evaluation along a
profile on masonry
surface
Integrity of pile
foundations, pile
length
Pile length

Borehole
tomography
Parallel
seizmic
method

max. + 5 % of the penetration


depth
Calibration by means of coring,
humidity influences the
precission, limited resolution
To measure the integrity,
sensors are lovated in a tube
paralle to the investigated pile
Influence of construction quality
(concrete), stiffness of soil has to
be taken into account

18

According to requirements for the test and


resolution

According to requirements for the test and


resolution
According to requirements for the test and
resolution

2.3 - Classification of defects


A distinction is made between four groups of defects:
1 Minor defects, rectification of which may be postponed until they can be conveniently
treated.
2 - Serious defects without short-term effects on the stability of the structure, but which may
lead to increasingly costly maintenance work if not rectified swiftly. Short-term may here mean a
period of a couple of months.
3 - Serious defects with short-term effects on the carrying capacity of the structure, thus
leading to traffic restrictions.
4 - Defects requiring immediate action.
The classification can also be based directly on safety levels (where severity could be clarified)
or on the cost of repair.
One example of a system to classify defects is given in SB-ICA(2007). In chapters 3 (Defects
and degradation processes) and 4(Condition rating) and in Appendix 2 (defect catalogue),
defects are described according to their position L (geometrical data as input to the FEMmodel), their intensity I (for example as a relation between designed and current cross section)
and defect extend R (relation between damaged and integer element).
For masonry bridges examples are given in UIC Code 778-3R (2009).

19

3 - Monitoring
Monitoring is mostly used in special cases, for example.
- In the construction phase to check strains and deformations
- Before and after strengthening of a bridge to check the effect of the strengthening
- On important and new types of bridges to check their behaviour and to calibrate numerical and
analytical models for bridges for their load bearing capacity and life-cycle length
- On damaged bridges to check the bearing capacity
- To check the influence of increased speed and/orheavier loads on an existing bridge
- To check if maintenance procedures are efficient
Examples of methods are given in SB-MON (2007), chapter 7 Monitoring tool-box.

3.1 Testing methods:


- Ambient vibration testing,
- Free vibration testing,
- Impact hammer testing,
- Linear exciter testing,
- Rotating unbalanced exciter testing,
- Displacement measurements via inclinometers and curvature measurements.

3.2 Data processing methods:


- Transfer functions or Frequency response functions (Periodogram method, Steady-state
harmonic),
- Natural frequencies (Response spectrum method),
- Damping (Decay curve method, Half-power bandwidth method, Phase method, Multiple-mode
decay method, Ambient vibration method),
- Modal parameters (Peakpicking method, Stochastic subspace identification)

3.3 Sensors:
-Accelerations (Piezoelectric accelerometers, Capacitive accelerometer, Force balanced
accelerometer),
- Displacements (Inductive linear position sensors, Vibrating wire displacement sensors,
Microbend displacement sensor, Pulse time-of-flight deformation sensor, Capacity non-contact
displacement sensor, Eddy-current displacement sensor),
- Strains (Electrical resistance strain gage, Bragg grating strain gage, Fabry-Perot interferometer
strain gage, Interferometric deformation sensors),
- Temperatures (Thermocouples, Bragg grating temperature sensor, Resistance thermometers)

20

4 - Methods for Load and Resistance Assessment


Methods for load and resistance assessment are given in SB-LRA (2007). A summary of the
contents is given below.
The bridge assessment in many aspects is very similar to the bridge design. The same basic
principles lie at the heart of the process. Nevertheless, an important difference lies in the fact
that when a bridge is being designed, an element of conservatism is generally a good thing that
can be achieved with very little additional costs. When a bridge is being assessed, it is important
to avoid unnecessarily conservative measures because of the financial implications that may
follow the decision of rating the bridge as deficient. Therefore, the design codes (e.g. EC codes)
may not always be appropriate for assessment of existing bridges, and some additional
recommendations or guidelines are required that will lead to less conservative assessment of
their loadcarrying capacity. Such guidelines have already been proposed for assessment of
highway bridges in Europe. However, there is a lack of this type of documents that can be
applied for the assessment of railway bridges.
Guide SB-LRA(2007) provides guidance and recommendations for applying the most advanced
and beneficial methods, models and tools when assessing the loadcarrying capacity of existing
railway bridges. This includes:
- systematised step-level assessment methodology,
- advanced safety formats (e.g. probabilistic or simplified probabilistic)
- refined structural analysis (e.g. non-linear or plastic, dynamic considering train-bridge
interaction),
- better models of loads and resistance parameters (e.g. probabilistic and/or based on the
results of measurements) and
- methods for incorporation of the results from monitoring and on-site testing (e.g. with Bayesian
updating of the concrete strength with values from different testing series).
Guide SB-LRA(2007) has been compiled with the aim of following somehow the structure of the
EC codes : it is divided into 10 chapters and 12 Annexes concerning: Assessment procedure
(Chapter 2); Requirements, safety formats and limit states (Chapter 3, Annexes 3.1-3.7); Basic
information for bridge assessment (Chapter 4); Load and dynamic effects (Chapter 5, Annex
5.1); Concrete, Metal and Masonry Arch Bridges (Chapter 6, 7 and 8 and Annexes 7.1 8.1 and
8.2); Foundations and transition zones (Chapter 9); Improvement of assessment using
information from testing and monitoring (Chapter 10, Annex 10.1).
In most of the topics related to railway bridge assessment, the Guide uses state-of-the-art
knowledge and current best practice. Nevertheless, in many subjects it proposes the use of
original methods and models that have been developed, obtained or systematised through
research performed within the project.

For masonry arch bridges, guidelines are also given in UIC Code 778-3R (2009)

21

5 - Maintenance, repair / strengthening and renovation


5.1 - Maintenance
Maintenance covers all measures undertaken with the object of maintaining the structure in
working condition.
The maintenance work to be carried out can be divided into preventive maintenance on the one
hand, and minor repair work on the other hand, with the aim of rectifying minor faults or delaying
the occurrence or development of more serious defects.
Maintenance work may include:
- work not directly related to the stability of the structure, such as the removal of vegetative
growth on the masonry facings, the replacement of ashlars or bricks in cases of isolated
damage, and the repair of damaged concrete edges;
- on masonry: repointing, injection, application of coating products in connection with general
surface damage;
- the cleaning of metal parts of the structure, where dirt collects and pro-motes oxidation
(excrements, birds' nests, earth, sand...);
- for steel superstructures, partial or complete repainting (after removal of rust) at intervals
determined by the harshness of the environment. Replacement of loose rivets, tightening of
loose bolts;
- maintaining the drainage of masonry structures in working condition so as to prevent
penetration of water or the buildup of water pressure;
- monitoring the functioning of collecting drains and the drainage to the main outfall;
- maintenance of bridge bearings which, if not functioning properly, can have adverse effects on
the bearing seating and the deck.

5.2 - Repair
Repair covers all measures aimed at restoring the structure to working condition. Such
measures are directed at the cause of defects and are thus designed to prevent their further
development. For this work to be carried out efficiently, a thorough examination of the structure
is required. Although experience from earlier cases and the review of previous data are of great
value, it should not be forgotten that every structure needing repair is a unique case
Repair work may include for example
- on masonry bridges: rejointing, injection and application of surface coating in case of extensive

22

superficial damage
- on metal bridges: the replacement of damaged metal components, arresting the further growth
of cracks by stop hole drilling to reduce the stress concentration at the crack tip and than
bridging of cracks by cover plates using rivets or high-strength friction-grip bolts;
- on concrete bridges: the renovation of the concrete surface by application of shotcrete or
injected mortar, or cast-insitu concrete;
- re-waterproofing and installing new drains
- repair of expansion joints;
- treatment of cracks in concrete or masonry by injection, sealing, bridging, installation of
anchors/bolts, wedges and cramps;
- installation of tie bars or prestressed tie rods;
- replacement or repair of materials underperforming technically;
- replacement of the whole bearing or of bearing components,
beneath the bearing plates, repair of bearing supports;

injection of synthetic resin

- stabilisation of retaining walls by buttressing.


Occasionally, comprehensive repairs have to be delayed for financial or other reasons, e.g. to
avoid disruption of railway operations by civilengineering work. In such cases where only
minimal repairs can be undertaken it should be appreciated that this will inevitably lead to
premature renewal of the structure. A shorter interval between inspections may help reduce
uncertainties and problems until proper repair has been undertaken

5.3 - Strengthening
Work of this kind is undertaken in particular to ensure the safety and regularity of rail traffic in
response to railways' current demand for:
- heavier axle loads for freight traffic ;
- higher maximum speeds for both freight and/or passenger traffic, on existing lines.
In order to achieve the first objective, it is frequently necessary to increase the carrying capacity
of the structure; the second objective, depending on the new speed planned, may occasionally
necessitate bridge-widening.
Older concrete bridges may be strengthened by means of additional reinforcement, for example
by using the technique of bonded plates, sheets or bars of steel or Carbon Fibre Reinforced
Polymers (CFRP), see SB-STR (2007).
If necessary, it is possible:
- to strengthen masonry arches by means of a saddle or adding a new ring, and also by tyingin

23

the spandrel walls. The height of the haunches may also be increased by injection.
- to strengthen prestressed concrete superstructures by additional prestressing.
- to reinforce steel decks by replacement of weak components, bracing components with
inadequate resistance to flexural buckling, fining additional components.
- to reinforce walls and abutments by ground anchoring at the rear, soil injection, or load transfer
to root piles.
- to protect and improve underwater foundations by means of concrete or sheetpile enclosures,
and to protect and stabilise the ground in the vicinity of water courses by stone pitching, gabions
or drainage blankets.
Methods for strengthening are given in SB-STR (2007). This Guide contains a graphic index
with typical structures plus examples of areas in need of strengthening and of possible methods.
Methods for masonry arch bridges are also given in chapter 5 of UIC Code 778-3R (2009)

5.4 - Renewals
Renewals cover the replacement of a complete structure or of decks if necessary where
because of the poor condition of the structure, strengthening cannot provide an economical
solution ensuring traffic safety under the required operating conditions.
On main lines, the replacement of steel decks with small spans up to, say, 15 m is generally
more economical than strengthening, especially if there are restrictions imposed on maintaining
rail traffic movements.

24

Bibliography
EN 1337 (2000) Structural bearings. General design rules. EN1337-1:2000
EN 13306 (2001): Maintenance terminology. European standard, CEN, 54pp.
Helmerich, R., Bien, J., Cruz, P.J.S. (2007):A guideline for railway bridge inspection and
condition assessment including the NDT toolbox Proceedings: Sustainable Bridges Assessment for Future Traffic Demands and Longer Lives,,pp 93-104; Wroclaw : Dolnoslaskie
Wydawnictwo Edukacyjne. ISBN 978-83-7125-161-0
Helmerich, R., Niederleithinger, E., Trela, Ch., Bien, J., Bernardini, G. (2008a):
Complex multi-tool inspection of a masonry arch bridge using non-destructive testing
Proceedings: Bridge Maintenance, Safety, Management, Health Monitoring and Informatics IABMAS 2008, July 13-17, 2008, Seoul, South Korea, 8 pp; CRC Press; Editor: International
Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety IABMAS. ISBN 978--0-415-46844-2
Helmerich, R., Niederleithinger, E., Algernon, D., Streicher, D., Wiggenhauser, H (2008b):
Bridge Inspection and Condition Assessment in Europe. Scientific journal: Transportation
Research Records, Taylor & Francis, Washington D.C., USA.
SB-GUIDE (2007): Overall Project Guide: Sustainable Bridges Assessment for Future Traffic
Demands and Longer Lives a project within EU FP7. 28pp. Available from: www.uic.asso.fr or
www.sustainablebridges.net. [cited 30 XX 2008]
SB-ICA (2007): Guideline for Inspection and Condition Analysis of Railway Bridges. Prepared by
Sustainable Bridges a project within EU FP6. 259 pp. Available from: www.uic.asso.fr or
www.sustainablebridges.net. [cited 30 XX 2008]
SB-LRA (2007): Guideline for Load and Resistance Assessment of Railway Bridges.
Prepared by Sustainable Bridges a project within EU FP6, 428 pp. Available from:
www.uic.asso.fr or www.sustainablebridges.net. [cited 30 XX 2008]
SB-MON (2007): Guideline for Monitoring of Railway Bridges. Prepared by Sustainable Bridges
a project within EU FP6. 93 pp.. Background documents for: Steel railway bridges, SB-5.2-S1,
53 pp; Structural Damping of Railway Bridges, SB-5.2-S2, 29 pp; Corrosion Monitoring Systems
for Reinforced Concrete Bridges, SB-5.2-S3, 23 pp; Estimating Reliability of Monitoring systems
for Bridges, SB-5.2-S4, 20 pp. Available from: www.uic.asso.fr or www.sustainablebridges.net.
[cited 30 XX 2008].
SB-STR (2007): Guide for use of Repair and Strengthening methods for Railway Bridges.
Prepared by Sustainable Bridges a project within EU FP6. 63 pp. Available from:
www.uic.asso.fr or www.sustainablebridges.net. [cited 30 XX 2008].
UIC Code 778-1R (1997): Recommendations for the consideration of fatigue in the design of
steel railway bridges. UIC, 2nd edition, 1.1.1997
UIC Code 778-2R (1997): Recommendations for determining the carrying capacity of existing
metal structures. UIC, 1st edition of 1.7.86 and 1 Amendment

25

UIC Code 778-3R (2009): Recommendations for the inspection, assessment and maintenance
of masonry arch bridges. Approved by the Panel of Structural Experts in February 2008, 163 pp.
Update of an earlier version from 1.7.1995. The following reports were produced:
- Bien, J, Kaminski, T, Rawa, P. (2006): Technology and pilot version of expert tool supporting
the evaluation of the degradation level for masonry bridges with damages. UIC Report
- Brencich, A., Gambarotta, L. (2006): Guide to the high-level assessment of masonry arch
bridges. UIC Report
- Gilbert, M. (2006): Guide to use of RING 2.0 for the assessment of railway masonry arches.
UIC Report
- Harvey, W. J. (2007): Review of the MEXE method. UIC Report
- Harvey W J. (2007b): Rule of thumb method for the assessment of arches. UIC Report (draft)
- Harvey W J. (2007c): Guide to the assessment of masonry arch bridges. UIC Report
- Ingenieurbro A. Pauser. (2005): Guide to the assessment of circular masonry arch bridges.
UIC Report
- Ingenieurbro A. Pauser. (2005): Guide to the destructive testing of masonry bridges. UIC
Report
- Ozaeta, R. G, Martn-Caro, J.A. (2006): Catalogue of Damages for Masonry Arch Bridges. UIC
Report
- Ozaeta, R. G, Martn-Caro, J.A., Brencich, A. (2007): Guide to the execution and control of
masonry arch repairs. UIC Report
- Steffens, K., Gutermann, M. (2006): Guide to the load test of masonry arch bridges. UIC
Report
- Orban, Z. (ed.) (2006): Recommendations for the non-destructive testing of masonry arch
bridges. UIC Report
- UIC Code 778-3R. (1994): Recommendations for the assessment of the loadcarrying capacity
of existing masonry and mass-concrete arch bridges, Paris.
- UIC Report. (2004): Assessment, Reliability and Maintenance of Masonry Arch Bridges (ed.
Orban, Z., UIC Masonry Arch Bridges Study Group). State-of-the-Art Research Report of the
International Union of Railways, Paris.
UIC Masonry (2008): Improving Assessment, Optimisation of Maintenance and Development of
Database for Masonry Arch Bridges. A research project of the International Union of Railways,
see http://masonry.uic.asso.fr
ECCS-JRC Joint report: Recommendations for the assessment of existing steel structures
(2008), EUR 23252 EN. http://eurocodes.jrc.ec.europa.eu/doc/background/EUR23252EN.pdf
VHFL (2009): Guidelines for Bearings (In German). Vereinigung der Hersteller von
Fahrbahnbergngen und (Brcken)Lagern (Association of Bearing Producer). See www.vhfl.de

26

Appendix A Notation
Definitions and short characteristic of the terms for inspection and
Condition-assessment of railway bridges including Non Destructive
Testing (NDT) methods in bridge engineering
The following table lists terms and procedures for inspections and condition assessment
(ICA) of railway bridge structures. They may give a rough overview about the
terminology and understanding of non-destructive evaluation of the current state of an
investigated bridge. Amended from SB-ICA (2007).
Table A1. Terms and procedures for inspection and condition assessment
English Terms
Acoustic
emission (AT)

Acoustic
methods

Array

Artefacts

A-scan

Assessment

B-scan

Definition
Acoustic Emission is the class of phenomena whereby an elastic
wave, in the range of ultrasound usually between 20 KHz and 1
MHz, is generated by the rapid release of energy from the source
within a material. The elastic wave propagates through the solid to
the surface, where it can be recorded by one or more sensors.
Acoustic methods are non-destructive testing methods for the
investigation of the current condition of the inner structure by
implementing an acoustic sound as impact (single wave) by an
hammer impact or an acoustic wave, induced by acoustic sensors
(ultrasound) recording and processing the reflected or transmitted
waves. Each material needs sensors developed for
characteristic frequencies. Acoustic methods can be applied in echo
mode (transmitter and receiver are on the same side of en structural
element, recording reflected waves) or in transmission mode (transmitter
and receiver are on opposite sides of an element).
Array is a set of sensors. Usually, sensors can be applied as a group
of sensors, transmitters or receivers. Known procedures are US-array
measurement, phased array for investigation of cracks in steel
or concrete structures. The set-up of a group of acoustic emission
sensors is also named array. Ultrasonic phased arrays are well
introduced to quality assurance systems of industrial steel
structures. They are investigated for use in concrete bridges.
Non real phenomena in images calculated as inverse processing of
NDT-data sets, artefacts actually result from an inauspicious algorithm or
geometry, data density or quality. Experience is required to
distinguish real defects from artefacts.
Acoustic, thermal or electromagnetic data obtained with non-destructive
testing methods recorded in time domain for one single point on the surface
of a structure.
A set of activities undertaken to characterise current state and the
reliability of a structure in comparison with a required state. See
condition assessment and structural assessment.
Image of a vertical section perpendicular to the investigated surface
below a line scan recorded in time domain

27

Bridge condition
assessment

Bridge defect:
Bridge safety/
structural
assessment
Bridge
serviceability
Bridge technical
condition
CFRP
C-scan

Condition

Condition
assessment

Condition
rating
Condition
ranking

Corrosion
detection
Damage

Also condition appraisal: Process of evaluation of the local and/or


global state of bridge conservation expressed in the form of
condition rating, either numerical (scale: 0-5, 1-10, 1-100 or other) or
linguistic (good, poor, acceptable, etc.);
Difference between the designed and the real state of a structural
element, effect diminishing the technical condition of the bridge
Process of evaluation of remaining bridge safety measured in terms
of partial safety index, reliability index or probability of failure,
Measure of differences between current and designed values of
bridge service parameters, e.g. load capacity, clearance, maximum
speed, etc.
Measure of differences between current and designed values of
bridge technical parameters, e.g. geometry, material characteristics,
etc.
CarbonFibre Reinforced Polymers. Often used as extra reinforcement when
bridges are strengthened
Image of processed NDT-data sets characterising a horizontal depth
slice of the inner structure, parallel to the investigated surface.
Data set is usually taken from 3-dimensional data sets of recorded
and processed data as impulse radar-echo, active thermography,
ultrasonic-echo or impact echo.
Current state of a structure, characterised by quality of design,
execution quality and aging processes influenced by external loading
and environmental influences.
(Also: condition appraisal) is a judgement about the condition of a
bridge compared to its initial state or designed plan enabling the
authorities to compare it to other bridges.
The condition assessment is a tool for a detailed appraisement of a
bridge itself as input to a ranking in a bridge management system.
The inventory of existing standard methods for Condition
assessment and inspection of railway bridges together with a tool
box of established and new innovative Non-Destructive testing
techniques will form the basis for a proposal of a Unified Condition
Assessment procedure for railways in Europe
Indicates the global state of conservation of one bridge structure and
its evaluation using weighted factors, indices or percentages
according to its value in comparison with the theoretical initial value.
Comparison of the bridge ratings in the bridge stock of an
infrastructure owner. Condition ranking based on current conditionrating systems is a tool for bridge owners when ranking their bridge asset
in order to coordinate their maintenance strategy or manage the
bridge stock. Currently used condition rating systems do not
deliver data for the structural assessment of bridges.
Surface investigation of reinforced concrete bridges, e.g. with electrochemical potential methods in order to detect early characteristics
anticipating corrosive processes.
Difference between current state of the bridge and the designed
structure. Damage can be caused by low quality during the
construction process or during service life.

28

Contrary to defects, damage describes a process.


Defect

Data Fusion

Data
reconstruction

Degradation
Duty survey
Eddy- current
test (EDT)
Endoscope
Electrochemical
inspections

Electromagnetic
methods (EM)

Experts opinion
(E)
General
Inspection

Impact echo

Impulse radar

When describing current condition related deficiencies in a bridge


the term defect is used, rather than the word "damages" now
frequently used. One exception to this general rule is the expression
"fatigue damage" which is in normal usage (Network rail).
Super positioning of data from different (NDT-)data sets obtained for
the same geometrical structural points to receive a more refined and more
realistic visualised image.
Data obtained from running radar antennas appears as hyperbolas.
The back-calculation of the measured data to the real geometrical
shape reflecting the electro-magnetic wave is called reconstruction
of data
Timedependent (deterioration, aging) or non-time dependent (traffic
impact, earthquake) process causing a defect of structure.
Continuous visual survey of the infrastructure by track staff
Eddy-current testing uses electromagnetic induction to detect flaws (voids)
in conductive materials. Basically, an eddy is the swirling of a fluid and the
reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle.
Instrument for looking at internal parts of an object. From Greek endon =
within and skopeo = look at
Corrosion detection plays a role in servicelife prediction of concrete
structures. Potential mapping or Laserinduced breakdown
spectroscopy enable researchers to earlydetect incipient
corrosionprocesses.
Electromagnetic methods use electromagnetic waves to produce
images. Impulse radar measurement belongs to the group of
electromagnetic waves. The more the obtained data is focused on the
investigated objects and the closer the measurement grid, the better are the
results.
Simple electromagnetic methods are magnetic powder inspection
applied to steel bridges or application of the cover meter
Electromagnetic methods use impulse-radar-echo waves or
induce magnetic fields in structures.
In case of doubts during reassessment of structures (in phase 2), the
structural engineer can ask for a refined investigation. Special
knowledge and experience is required.
Extremely detailed inspection involving examination of all parts of the
bridge within touching distance (with hammer tapping on concrete surfaces)
every 4 to 6 years. However, the frequency of inspection should reflect the
nature of the bridge and the defects observed. Less detailed examinations
are made during Routine and Principal Inspections
With sensors in echo arrangement : Acoustic wave excitation and
receiver are on one side of a structural element. Surface waves
may badly affect the result. Advantage is the accessibility from only
one side.
With sensors in transmission arrangement: Acoustic wave excitation
from one side and the receiver on the opposite side of a structural
element. Advantage is that surface waves do not disturb the result.
Geo-radar: Ground Penetrating Radar

29

Inspection

Magnetic Particle
Test (MT)
, Non-Destructive
Testing(NDT)

Permeability

Phased array

Polarisation

Potential field

Principal
Inspection
Probability of
Detection(POD)

Radiographic
methods

(GPR) or Impulse Radar is a geophysical, non-destructive technique


based on transmitting electromagnetic (EM) waves (short impulses)
into material and receiving reflected waves to detect structures and
changes in dielectric material properties within the material.
Gathering of data from the existing bridge via regular visual control
usually based on rules or standards and its translation to the
inspection records (bridge book, sheets, digital files). Inspection is a
regular visual control of the bridge condition. All railway authorities
plan their inspections on the basis of national rules,
Use of magnetised particles in a suspension to find surface cracks
Investigation of structures or structural elements using waves to
receive data visualised in images to obtain information about the
inner structure. Acoustic, electromagnetic, thermal or microwaves
can be used. The structures integrity is not affected.
Density of the concrete surface against air or water penetration. Low
permeability of concrete is the best guarantee for its durability. If no
gas or water can penetrate the concrete, the chloride transfer or
carbonation process is interrupted. Impermeability can be tested
with pressurised water, and permeability by means of a permeability test.
A set of ultrasonic transducer and/or receiver elements in which the
timing of the elements' excitation can be individually controlled to
produce certain desired effects, such as steering the acoustic beam axis or
focusing the beam to find voids or inhomogeneities.
The EM field contains electric and magnetic field vectors which are
orthogonal to each other and to the direction of translation. By
convention, the EM field solutions are characterised by the direction
of the electric field vector. When the time variation of the fields is
sinusoidal, the concepts of linear, circular and elliptical polarisations
arise. In practice, using dipole antennas between parallel and
perpendicular polarization in relation to the antenna, movement will
be distinguished.
The potential field on a surface changes if corrosion occurred inside
the structure. It is measures non-destructively from the concrete
surface. The test is sensitive to humidity
Refined visual inspection with focus on safety carried out every (2nd) or ( 3rd)
year. More in-depth examinations are made during General Inspections.
POD is a term that describes the reliability of inspection techniques.
Two main elements affect PoD; the technique and the human factor.
Broadly speaking the inspection reliability is defined as the probability
of not overlooking an existing defect (probability of detection,
POD) and correct sizing of the defect. However simple this definition may
appear, it encompasses many complex issues ranging from the
specification of the nature of defects to influencing factors related to
the inspection instrumentation, product nature, the involved human factor
and the available expertise for inspection data processing and assessing.
Radiographic inspection is more important for the assessment of
steel structures than for voluminous and massive concrete bridges. It
is the only reliable method for the assessment of weld defects or of
damages in sandwiched elements, as built-up sections in riveted

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Routine
Inspection

Resistance
Assessment

SAFT

Special
investigation

Strength
Assessment:

Survey

Thermography

Time of flight
areas
(TOF)
Tomography

Ultrasonic

girders. While in some countries the application of radioactive


sources is restricted by safety measures, others apply e.g. Iridium
sources successful in experts opinions for detail investigation.
Annual inspection from ground level by trained examiners. It is carried out
in accordance with national standards or rules of infrastructure owners.
More in-depth examinations are made during Principal and General
Inspections.
When numerically determining the carrying capacity (or resistance)
of a bridge - Strength (or resistance) Assessment. (This essentially
consists of measurements, the determination of physical material
properties either from generic tables or material testing, and
structural analysis.)
Synthetic Aperture Focusing Technique is a digital signal processing
method (DSP) for ultrasonic testing (SAFT UT). It provides an
accurate measurement of the spatial location and extent of flaws
contained in objects such as structural components and welds and
nuclear-power reactor systems. Transit-time for the ultrasonic beam
to travel to and from a point is a hyperbolic function of the probe
position and target depth. When the equation of this hyperbola is
known, A-scan signals can be shifted in time and added together.
In case of doubts during inspection of any level, a special
investigation can be required. The inspector (professional bridge
engineer) determines the scope for special investigations or expert
opinions.
When numerically determining the carrying capacity
(or resistance) of a bridge - Strength (or resistance) Assessment.
(This essentially consists of measurements, the determination of
physical material properties either from generic tables or material
testing, and structural analysis.)
Also Routine surveillance or standard visual inspection from the ground
level , for example performed half-yearly or yearly. The inspector has
to follow national requirements on his training level.
Active and passive thermography allow the reliable detection of
humidity in a structure, investigation near surface damages as
debonding, especially after repair or strengthening measures with
thin layered materials (e.g. CFRP) or cavities near the surface. The
evaluation of images of surfacetemperature data obtained as
cooling down behaviour characterises near-surface integrity
Time between emitting and receiving an acoustic or electromagnetic
wave which is a measure of an inhomogeneity, if the wave velocity
increases compared to the homogeneous material
Tomography is a term describing the reconstruction of 2D- or 3D
structure from data obtained from NDT-measurements (acoustic,
electromagnetic or radiographic) using transmitters and receivers on
neighboured or opposite sides of a structure, while at least one of
the sensors is moved along the surface. Several dozens to hundreds
of transmitter/ receiver positions are used.
A term referring to acoustic vibration frequencies greater than about
18,000 Hertz. Ultrasonic waves have a wide diversity of applications
over an extended range of intensity, with cutting, cleaning, and the

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Ultrasonic-echo
(US-echo)

Visual
inspection

destruction of tissue as one extreme and non-destructive testing


(NDT) at the other end.
Analysis of acoustic waves received on the same surface from which
they where emitted, reflected from back wall, defects or cavities in
structural materials. Advantage: Accessibility from only one side of a
structural element.
Gathering of data from the existing bridge via regular visual
control, today usually based on national rules or standards and its
translation to the inspection records (bridge book, sheets, digital
files). If tools such as endoscopes are used to document the structure, the
inspection is called indirect or internal.
Computer program used for the analysis of wave propagation in
structures.

Application
With effect from 1 May 2009
All UIC railways.

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