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Structural Failure,


Pavni Pandya
Method of Evaluation

Internal (60%) External (40%)

Mid Sem Assignments/ Interim Report Lab work Final exam Final report
exam (Theory Presentations ( Theory +
+ Lab) Lab)

30 % 15 % 5% 10% 35% 5%

• Buildings
• Bridges
• Jetties
• Roads
• Water tanks
• Dams
etc ………….
What is structure ?
• A structure is a system for transferring loads
from one place to another and nature can
show examples of structures that support
loads (Seward, 1998)

Examples are a banyan tree,

fern leaf, spider webs, etc.
A tall tree forms buttresses to resist
the huge moments induced at the
base of the tree
The design of structures should satisfy three
fundamental requirements:
• Stability: The structure should be stable
under the action of loads.
• Strength: The structure should resist safely
stresses induced by the loads.
• Serviceability: The structure should perform
satisfactorily under service loads.

• General Definitions

– Inability of a component, structure or facility to

perform its intended function

– Note: Failure does not necessarily involve collapse

or rupture
We learn more from
buildings that fall down
than from buildings that
stand up.
Why Study Failures?

• To develop insights into technical, ethical, and

professional issues

• To reinforce awareness of need for lifelong


• Lessons learned from failures have changed

engineering practice

• To place design and analysis procedures in

historical context
In fact, it is often easier to learn from
failures rather than from successes.

Silver River Bridge - 1967

The cause of the collapse was the failure of a

single eyebar in a suspension chain, due to a
small defect 2.5 mm deep. Analysis showed
that the bridge was carrying much heavier
loads than it had originally been designed for
and had been poorly maintained
The evaluation of
failures is known
as Forensic

• Restoration: To bring back to its original

• Repair: To restore to sound condition after
damage or loss
• Retrofitting: To install or fit for use in or on
existing structure
• Rehabilitation: To enhance and restore
functional ability and quality of life
• Reconstruction: To construct again
Structural Failure
• Since man first began to build, there have been
times when our buildings have not met
• Common problems include leaks, unsightly cracks
or sagging, and in rare instances, total collapse.
• Modern building codes have greatly reduced, but
cannot totally eliminate, the risk of being hurt or
killed in a structural collapse.
• While the probability of structural failure is low,
the consequences can be tragic, and engineers
continually seek understanding of why buildings
fail, who (if anybody) is at fault, how to repair the
damage, and how to prevent similar failures.
Classifications of Failure

• Safety failure

• Functional Failure

• Ancillary Failure
Safety failure

• Safety failure involves death or injury or

placing people at risk

• Examples
– Collapse of formwork during concrete placement
– Punching shear failure in flat slab concrete floor
– Slip and fall on wet floor
Functional Failure

• Functional failure involves compromise of

intended usage of structure or facility
• Examples
– Excessive vibration of floor
– Leaking of roofs
– Inadequate air conditioning
– Poor acoustics
Ancillary Failure

• Ancillary failure includes factors that affect

schedules and ultimately cost.

• Examples
– Delayed construction
– Unexpected foundation problems
– Unavailability of materials
Complexity of civil structure and role of civil
• Structure is built with different materials having different
user ages and useful life

• When they are placed together, we expect them to

perform combined with different user life which varies
from few years to several years

• Plumbing lines have 12 to 15 years of serviceable life

where as cement, bricks, concrete are have fairly longer

• Process of changes takes place with time due to physical

and chemical changes which is unavoidable.
• Our aim is to minimize detrimental effects of these
changes (deterioration) to prolong service life of the

• By proper diagnosis of the distressed structure and

selection of proper repair strategy, effective repair
work can be done.

• Main reason is to sensitize people towards present

wrong and unethical construction practice and to
minimize repair cost and inconvenience caused due
to it.
Causes of Failure
(safety and functional)
• Structures are built with some Intended (Design) life

• Reasons for not matching design life

Pre construction stage: design and detailing

During construction: poor workmanship, inferior

quality of material, change in
structural element without
checking stability of structure

Post construction stage: earthquake, fire, material

deterioration, Change in structural
element without checking stability
of structure
• Manmade reasons
- Structural deficiency (design and detailing)
- Poor workmanship
- Material deterioration
- Unethical construction practice
- Foundation material failure
- Terrorist attack

• Natural reasons
- Unanticipated over loading (Fire, Earthquake,
Cloud burst, Floods etc.)
BRTS Bus stand

By Prof. V.R. Shah

Earthquake induced failure due to
different reasons
• Resonance effect

• Incompatible Structural Design

• Incompatible Architectural Design

• Incompatible Construction Material

• Incompatible Earth Material (soil)

Earthquake induced failure due to
different reasons
• Resonance
• Structural design: soft story
• Architectural design: Irregular shape
• Material used : Stiff material
• Earth material (soil): Liquefaction of soil

soft story
• Example of soft
story collapse

• 5th floor restaurant

open structure

• Stories above and

below have more
Irregularly shaped structures
T shaped structure
Unreinforced Masonry
Lateral spreading

Structures tend to fail during ground
• Soft story
• Structures constructed from stiff building
• One weak point initiates other failures
(Domino effect)
• Irregularly shaped structures
• Structures that move into resonance
• Earth material fails
Earth material fails

• This can be problematic if the new construction

involves high levels of noise or vibration (i.e., pile-
driving or heavy traffic loads), deep excavation, or
• Vibration damage occurs when construction activity,
such as pile driving or soil compaction, produces waves
in the ground that travel outward from the source to
adjacent properties.
• Construction typically produces ground waves known
as Raleigh waves. While these waves decrease in
intensity (attenuate) with distance from the source,
depending on soil type or the fragility of the adjacent
property, the waves may still be sufficiently strong to
cause discomfort, if not damage.
• If the soil settlement is not uniform, distortion
and damage can occur. Such differential
settlement can also be due to deep excavations
adjacent to existing foundations, or to changes in
groundwater levels due to dewatering to keep
the construction site dry.
• To reduce the risk of vibration damage,
contractors are often required to maintain
vibration levels below damage thresholds
established by building departments or technical
• Underpinning of adjacent foundations is often
done to prevent damage from excavations or
• Because few structures begin free of distress,
it is often difficult to differentiate between
preexisting damage and new damage caused
by adjacent construction. To help
differentiate, preconstruction surveys of
adjacent properties are often done to map the
cracking and foundation elevations prior to
the beginning of construction. It is often
possible to resolve construction damage from
other sources by comparing post-construction
and pre-construction photographs and
elevation surveys.
• Types of structure based on construction material
Reinforce Concrete

Widely used structures are

Reinforce Concrete
• In ideal environments, most common
construction materials are very durable. However,
design or construction deficiencies or lack of
proper maintenance can result in less-than-ideal
conditions under which construction materials
will degrade.
• Degradation can take many forms, including
chemical reactions, consumption by living
organisms, and erosion or mechanical wear.
• Traditional building materials – steel, concrete,
and wood – usually deteriorate and fail via well-
known mechanisms. Even innovative materials
that appear on construction sites can degrade,
either by these well-understood mechanisms or
through exotic, sometimes surprising, reactions
and processes.
• Steel –
• Corrosion is the most common and expensive
form of material degradation for construction
steels, including concrete reinforcement.
• Steel corrosion (rusting, or oxidation) is an
electrochemical reaction that occurs when
iron atoms loose electrons in the presence of
oxygen and water.
• The most effective and common procedure for
preventing or slowing corrosion is to prevent
contact with water, either by coatings or by
protecting it within a viable construction
Concrete –
• Concrete is a composite material composed of a
cement (most commonly Portland cement and fly
ash), a fine aggregate (sand), a coarse aggregate
(gravel or crushed stone), and sometimes
chemical admixtures.
• Water reacts with (hydrates) the cement around
the aggregate to form a solid, bonded
conglomerate. While concrete is a relatively inert
and durable building product, there are
mechanisms by which it can degrade. Perhaps the
most common is not degradation of the concrete
material itself, but corrosion of the embedded
steel reinforcement.
• When the steel corrodes, it expands and damages
the concrete, often resulting in delamination and
• Other degradation mechanisms include sulfate
attack and alkali silica reaction (ASR). Prevention
of these degradation mechanisms at the time of
construction is typically done by designing a
resistant concrete mix or protecting the concrete
from aggressive environments; after the damage
has progressed, the problem becomes much
more complicated – and expensive – to solve.
Wood –
• Unlike steel and concrete, whose chief
degradation mechanisms are chemical
reactions, and the principal degradation
mechanisms for wood are biological attack,
namely decay and termites.
• Decay fungi feed on wood and require oxygen,
mild temperatures, and moisture to thrive.
Most damaging fungi affect wood only when
the moisture content is above the fiber
saturation point, so preventing decay is
usually a matter of keeping moisture away
• Several species of termite can damage wood,
but most damage is due to subterranean
termites. The usual method for preventing
subterranean termite infestation is to prevent
access; that is, isolating wood from the ground
surface and thereby denying the termites a
bridge to the structure.
• Vulnerability : in decreasing order




Failure of concrete structures
Primary reasons of deterioration

• Construction specifications are violated

• Harsher service environment

• Physical damages due to calamity such as earthquake , fire ,

heavy rainfall etc.

• Tendency to opt for concealment/coating rather than quality

• Durability is quality parameter and mainly function of
permeability of concrete

• Due attention needs to be paid towards

– Type & quality of composite materials

– Control of mix proportions

– Control of processing conditions

– Design & detailing aspects

( to minimize size and number of joints & cracks due to thermal gradient
drying shrinkage, creep and loading )
How deterioration takes place? or
What is deterioration?
• Concept – I
Concrete deterioration from environmental

• Concept – II
Process of concrete deterioration

• Concept – III
Ternary representation of damage to RCC
A water tight RCC structure containing Environmental action (Stage 1)
discontinuous cracks, microcracks and pores No visible damage
1. Weathering effects (cyclic:
Heating cooling, wetting drying)
2. load effects (cyclic loading and
impact loading)
Gradual loss of water tightness as cracks,
microcracks and pores become more
Environmental action (Stage 2)
Initiation and progression of
A. Expansion of concrete due to increase in • Penetration of water
hydraulic pressure in pores caused by : • Penetration of O2 and CO2
• Corrosion of steel • Penetration of acidic ions
• Sulphate attack on cement paste e.g. Cl -, SO4 --
• Alkali attack on aggregates
• Freezing of water
and simultaneous
B. Reduction in strength and stiffness of concrete

Cracking, Spalling and loss of mass

Concept – II
Process of concrete deterioration
Concept – III
Ternary representation of damage to RCC

Moist Environment
Air (O2, CO2), So4--, Cl-

Exposure to
Presence of
aggressive agents

• Capillary Pores (High W/C

Interconnected ratio and poor curing)
porosity • Macro voids(Inadequate
Damage to RCC (permeability) workability and improper
• Micro cracks(loading in
service and cyclic loading)
• Continued ability of structure to withstand expected
wear & deterioration satisfactorily in the normal
operating conditions through out its intended life
without the need for undue maintenance

• During designing of concrete mix, certain degree of

deterioration during service life should be
anticipated and required inputs should be provided
to control it adequately.
• Alkalinity of cement is directly related to quantity of
cement in concrete

• But excess cement content also leads to other problems

due to heat of hydration, shrinkage etc.

• And for that code has expressed durability requirements

for specific exposure condition in form of
- Min. cement content
- Max. w/c ratio
- Min. grade of concrete
- Min. cover to reinforcement
• Durability is mainly function of permeability of concrete

• Due attention needs to be paid towards

– Control of mix proportions

– Type & quality of composite materials

– Control of processing conditions

– Design & detailing aspects

( to minimize size and number of joints & cracks due to
thermal gradient drying shrinkage, creep and loading )
Causes of Deterioration or factors affecting
durability of concrete
1 Permeability of Concrete

2 Design and detailing deficiency

3 Material deficiency

4 Workmanship deficiency

5 Effect of environment
1 Permeability of Concrete
1 caused due to
interconnected porosity and allows penetration of
aggressive agents
Permeability affected by-
or Permeability is Function of -
1 Mainly water
cement ratio

2 Degree of hydration /curing

3 Air voids due to deficient


4 Micro cracks due to loading

5 Cyclic Exposure to thermal

Factors responsible to change structure of
concrete making it permeable.

1 Capillary Porosity

2 Air voids

3 Micro cracks
Capillary Porosity
Effect of age on porosity
Capillary Porosity
Effect of w/c ratio on porosity
Curing time required for various w/c ratios

Water cement ratios by Curing time required for

mass capillary discontinuity
0.4 3 days
0.45 7 days
0.5 14 days
0.6 6 months
0.7 1 year
> 0.7 1 year
Air voids

• Larger than capillary pores & in form of air

• Formed due to inadequate compaction
• Permeability increases when inter connected
with capillary pores
Micro cracks/Cracks
• Due to external loading
- Static / cyclic loading
- Extreme thermal variation

• Improper placement of concrete

• Sulfate attack
• Alkali aggregate reaction
• Heat of hydration
• Increased volume of corroded reinforcement exerting
bursting pressure to the concrete
• Differential Settlement of foundation/ decrease in
bearing capacity (shear failure of soil)
Causes of deterioration (Continued.)
2 Aggressive deteriorating chemical agents
Chemical attack on constituents of concrete
( hydrated gel, aggregate and reinforcement -steel)

• Sulfate attack
• Alkali silica reaction
• Corrosion of steel - due to carbonation of concrete
- due to Ingress of chloride
Sulfate Attack
• Interaction between hydrated cement paste (C3A)
and sulfite ion from environment makes ettringite
product which causes expansion and cracking of

• Sulfite ion generally found in soil, ground water and

in air in industrial area in form of calcium, potassium,
sodium and magnesium

• Severity increases when combines with ammonium,

chloride, nitrate or carbonate ions
Sulfate Attack

• Another reason is due to prolonged attack of sulfite

solution on concrete causes progressive
decomposition of calcium silicate hydrates leading
loss of stiffness and strength

• Can be controlled by using pozzolonic materials like,

fly ash, blast furnace slag, silica fumes etc.
Alkali Silica Reaction
• Reaction between reactive silica present in aggregate and
alkali present in portland cement forms expansive type of
alkali-silica gel leading to loss of strength due to cracking

• This reaction takes place in presence of water

• Different forms of reactive silica

• Amorphous silica
• Microcrystalline silica
• Poorly crystalline silica
• Fractured silica
• Glassy silica
Alkali Silica Reaction

• Factors affecting dissolution of silica (alkali silica

- Degree of disorder (amount of reactive silica )
- Porosity
- Particle size
- Temperature

• This effect takes years to deteriorate the concrete

Corrosion of Steel
• What is corrosion?
- Oxidation of steel (reinforcement)

• Ideal condition to protect steel from corrosion

a) Concrete cover (hinders direct contact of air with steel)

b) Protective layer (making steel passive towards oxidation)

formed by chemical reaction under highly alkaline
environment (pH 12.6 to 13.5) . Under high alkalinity
oxygen can not react with steel
Corrosion of Steel
Reasons for braking of protective layer leading
to corrosion of steel

• Reduction in alkalinity of concrete (pH value < 11 to 11.5)

• Presence of chemicals ( chloride ions etc) making steel

reactive even though alkalinity of concrete is high
Avoid use of rusted steel
Corrosion of Steel
2Fe + 2H2O + O2 = 2Fe (OH)2

permeability &
Discontinuous Intermittent Depassivation penetration of
exposure to presence of of steel Cl ions & CO2
water & humid water


From air Oxygen

• Alkalinity in the concrete is due to presence of
hydroxide of Calcium, Sodium & Potassium in the
hardened concrete

• Reaction between CO2 and alkalinities in the concrete

CO2 + H2O H2CO3
Ca (OH)2 + H2 CO3 CaCO3 + 2 H2O
Alkali + Acid Salt + Water

• Responsible for reduction of Alkalinity

Degree of carbonation depends upon-

• Environment-
i. Becomes problematic in areas having high CO2 concentration and
moderate humidity
ii. Discontinuous exposure of water (due to rain, wetting /drying
cycle due to leakage)
iii. In fully and permanently saturated concrete diffusion of gases
does not occur or in negligible rate
iv. In fully dry concrete in absence of H2O carbonic acid does not form

• Quality of concrete -
i. Permeable concrete with low w/c ratio
ii. Concrete with high w/c ratio
iii. Inadequately moist cured concrete
Carbonation time in years for various depth of
cover and w/c ratio

Water/Cement Cover (mm)

5 10 15 20 25 30

0.45 19 75 100+ 100+ 100+ 100+

0.50 6 25 50 99 100+ 100+

0.55 3 12 27 49 76 100+

0.60 1.8 7 16 29 45 65

0.65 1.5 6 13 23 36 52

0.70 1.2 5 11 19 30 43
Chloride Penetration
• Destroys corrosion protection layer
• Source of chloride
- May be present in fresh concrete through water, cement etc.
- May penetrate from external source into hardened concrete
- Most common source is sea water

• Factors affecting chloride penetration effect

- Chloride content at steel surface
- C3A content in cement
- w/c ratio
- Concrete cover
- Temperature variation
- Relative humidity
- addition of pozzolonic materials like fly ash, blast furnace
slag, silica fume etc.
Chloride Penetration
• Quality of concrete cover plays important role in the
crack zone for crack width upto 0.4 mm

• Lower permeability of concrete penetration of Cl

is delayed corrosion mechanism gets delayed
Diffusion of air carbonation
Cl penetration depassivation of steel
Oxygen feeds corrosion process

• In larger crack width different corrosion mechanism

gets activated
Chloride Penetration

• Water Acts as medium for penetration of harmful

dissolved chemicals

• Carbon dioxide - reduces alkalinity of concrete

- results in destroying passive film on
- provides favorable environment for
2 Design & detailing deficiency

• Joints in structure are more critical points due

to congested reinforcement
• Too many joints in design make structure
more vulnerable
• Soft story and some shapes (T shape, L shape,
two adjacent buildings of different height) of
structure create problem during earthquake
• Flat slab increases chances of punching shear
• In bigger size of structural element, heat of
hydration becomes difficult to control
3 Material deficiency

• Use of less amount of cement, sand or coarse

aggregate than required
• Use of less number of steel bars ( main or
• Use of less diameter of steel bars
• Use of less number or lesser size of steel
member and also that of connectors (steel
plate, bolts etc.)
4 workmanship deficiency

• Unskilled labors or insufficient number of

• Less control on mix proportion of the concrete
• Insufficient compaction and curing
• Use of improper machinery
• Wrong time of concreting
• Use of inferior quality of materials
• Wrong practice of construction
• Poor control on overall construction activity
5 Effect of environment

• Near sea shore

• Industrial area

• Cyclic heating and cooling (Extreme climate


• Cyclic wetting and drying (Tidal variation or

Cracks in RCC structures
• Cracking of concrete is usually expected
when tension is present.

• Cracking can occur when concrete is fresh,

in this case it is called plastic cracking and
the reason is plastic shrinkage or

• Cracks develop also in hardened concrete

due to loads or imposed deformations such
as shrinkage, thermal movement, etc.
Cracks in structure

• Structural cracks • Non Structural cracks

– Due to incorrect – Moisture changes
design – Thermal movement
– Faulty construction – Elastic deformation
– Overloading – Creep
– Chemical reaction
– Foundation movement
and settlement of soil
– Vegetation
– Corrosion

Before Setting
• Plastic Shrinkage *
• Plastic Settlement *
• Differential Settlement of supports

Hardening Phase
• Early thermal movement *
• Drying shrinkage*
• Differential Settlement of supports

* Indicates non-structural cracking.

In Hardened State
• Overloading / Under • Alkali Aggregate
Design. Reaction
• Inadequate construction/ • Crazing
• Weathering Cracks
• Differential Settlement
• Long Term Drying
• Sulphate Attack* and Shrinkage*
• Rusting/Corrosion
• Chloride Attack
• Carbonation

* Indicates non-structural cracking.


The minimum width of crack that can be seen by the

naked eye is generally about 1.3mm.

EXTERIOR MEMBERS (Normal Exposure): 0.25mm

EXTERIOR MEMBERS (Aggressive Exposure): 0.15mm


Cracks should also not affect adversely the appearance

and serviceability of structures
• Code specifies max. allowable width as 0.3mm in
general, though it depends on the type of
structure and exposure conditions.

• In aggressive environment, the computed crack

width on the surface nearest to reinforcement
bars should not exceed 0.1mm

• It is desirable to control cracks through good

detailing practices, rather than rely on
computations for crack widths.
Non Structural cracks

Moisture Changes
Building materials expand on absorbing moisture
and shrink on drying. Shrinkage in concrete or
mortar depends on a number of factors
• Cement concrete: Richer the mix greater is the
drying shrinkage.
• Water content: More water in mix induces
greater shrinkage
• Aggregates : Large aggregates with good grading
has less shrinkage for same workability as less
water is used
• Curing: If proper curing starts as soon as initial set
has taken place and continued for 7 to 10 days
shrinkage is comparatively less
• Excessive fines: More fines in aggregate requires
more water for same workability and hence more
• Temperature: Concrete made in hot weather
needs more water for same workability.
Initial Expansion
An example of cracks of wall due to initial expansion
of bricks is given in fig
Thermal Movement
• The cracking of a typical structure due to thermal
movement is given in fig
•In case of framed buildings due to thermal movement,
frames are distorted and cracks may appear as shown in fig
Prevention of Thermal Cracks
To prevent thermal cracks expansion joints, control joints
and joints in case of change of shape and direction of wing
in a structure are to be provided
General guide lines to provide movement joints
Type of Structure Movement of Joints

a RCC roof slab Provide 20 to 25 mm wide, joint at 10 to 20 M apart

b Supports for RCC slabs 4 to 6M Provide slip joint between slab and bearing wall.

c RCC framed structure, other Provide 25 to 40 mm wide expansion Joints at 30 to 45 M

load and bearing structure interval

d Junction between old and new Provide vertical slip joints.


e Compound walls Expansion joint 5 to 8mm wide at 5to 8M interval and

change of direction.

f Concrete pavement Provide 20 to 25mm wide joints at 25m to 40m interval

with control joints at 5 to 8m. In cross direction control
joints have to be provided at 3 to 5 m intervals.

g Chajja Provide expansion joint 5 to 8mm wide at 4 to 6 M interval.

h RCC Railing Provide expansion joints 5 to 8mm wide at 6 to 9m interval.

Elastic Deformation

Building items such as concrete and brick work

when subjected to a sustained load not only
undergo elastic strain but also develop gradual
and slow time dependent deformation known as
creep or plastic strain. The creep in brick work
may stop after 4 months but the same in concrete
continue upto a year or so. The creep in concrete
may be 2 to 3 times of the elastic deformation
and hence has to be fully carefully considered.
General measures for avoidance reduction of
cracks due to elastic strain, creep and shrinkage
• Water cement ratio is to be controlled.
• Reasonable pace of construction adopted.
• Brick work over load bearing RCC members should be
done after removal of shutting giving a time gap.
• Brick walls between columns should be deferred as much
as possible.
• Plastering of areas having RCC and brick members should
be done after sufficient time gap, say one month or
suitable groves provided in junction.
• Shutting should be allowed stay for a larger period say 30
days or so for cantilevers which are bound to defect
Movement due to chemical reaction
• Certain chemical reaction in building materials result is
appreciable change in volume of resulting products and
internal stresses are set up which may result in outward
thrust and formation of cracks.
• Soluble sulphate reacts with tricalcuium aluminate in
cement and hydraulic lime and form products which
occupy larger volume and ends in developing cracks. An
example of cracking of a floor due to coming in contact of
the sub base made of brick khoa with heavy sulphate
content and water can be seen in fig
• If sulphate content in soil is more that 0.2 % or in
ground water more than 300 ppm ,rich mix of
concrete and mortar has to be adopted.
• Avoid bricks containing too much soluble
sulphates (more than 5 %) and use rich mortar in
such cases.
• Use expansion and control joint at closure
Corrosion of Reinforcement

Corroded reinforcement expands and cracks the

concrete cover. To avoid this phenomenon dense mix
of concrete using proper quality of water and
adequate cover should adopted. Proper compaction
should be done. Required measures to be taken to
minimize permeability of concrete


1 2 3 4 5 6

Foundation movement and settlement of soil
Building on expansive clays are extremely crack prone. The
soil movement in such clay is more upto a depth of 1.5 to
2m and this causes swelling and shrinkage and develops
crack in the structure. The cracks due to settlement are
usually diagonal in shape. Crack appearing due to swelling
is vertical
Cracking due to vegetation
Large trees growing in the vicinity of buildings cause damage in all
type of soil conditions. If the soil is shrinkable clay cracking is severe
Structural Cracks
Structural cracks mainly occur due to:
a) Defective design and defective load assumptions
and perception of behavior of the structure.
b) Incorrect assessment of bearing capacity of
foundation soil and soil properly.
c) Defective detailing of joints of components like roof
with brick wall, corner joints of walls
d) Defective structural detailing of steel
e) Lack of quality control during construction.
Characteristics of Flexural Cracks

•Occurs when there is flexural strength deficiency

•Maximum width at Tension face converges
towards other face

Flexural cracks affect the structural soundness and

needs to be attended as early as possible.
Characteristics of Shear Cracks

•Occurs when there is deficiency of shear strength

•Occurs in the region where shear force is
•Its maximum width is at mid depth and converges
to top/bottom
•It occurs either singly or in group

It affects the structural soundness of the structure

and needs to be attended as early as possible.
Torsional crack in beam
• Due to inadequacy to resist torsion

Bond slip crack in beams

• Due to abrupt curtailment of reinforcement
• Inadequate bond slipping of bars
Disturbance cracks in beams:
They occur due to constructional practices like removal/stripping of
formwork supporting the member before time.

Horizontal Cracks in columns occur due to

corrosion of reinforcement, or if the column
section is not designed for sufficient moment

Deficiency in design
Under assessment of loading
Over loading of section
Poor quality of concrete

• Inadequate main reinforcement

• Distribution of reinforcement not
• High W/C ratio in concrete
Improper curing
• Shrinkage cracks in cantilever slab
Condition Survey
Condition Survey
• Examination of structure for purpose of identifying and defining

• Objective
1 To identify - causes of distress & their sources

2 To assess - the extent of distress occurred due to corrosion, fire,

earthquake etc.
- Residual strength of the structure (concrete)
- Its rehabitability

3 To prioritize the distressed elements according to seriousness of


4 To select & plan effective remedy

Condition survey
• Systematic assessment is required
- to identify the actual problem
- to provide required remedial measures with
minimum efforts and least cost

• Generally done in four stages

1 Preliminary Inspection
2 Planning
3 Visual Inspection
4 Field and Laboratory Testing
1. Preliminary Inspection

• Objective
1 To assess and collect necessary information for
thoughtful planning
-Back ground history of distressed structure from
client, occupant and general public etc.
- Record of earlier repair , if carried out
- All possible relevant data and information
- Practical restrictions in conducting field survey
and work out the method to overcome the same
1. Preliminary Inspection

- Safety requirements
- Necessary site preparations including access,
scaffolds, working platforms etc., if required
-Extent and quantum of survey work
- Approximate time required
- Requirement of field testing equipments and tools
for sampling
2 To advice the client in regard to immediate safety
measures if required , if necessary
3 To define the scope of work of field investigation in
consultation with the client
1. Preliminary Inspection
• Kind of basic information gathered
1 Period of construction
2 Construction detail including architectural ,structural and as built
3 Exposure condition of structure
4 Designated use of structure
5 Present use of structure
6 Previous changes if any
7 Record of first occurrence of deterioration
8 Record of structural changes made if any
9 Details of repair carried out in the past
10 Reports of previous investigation or condition survey if carried out
11 Apparent cause of distress as to be ascertained from the client
12 Photographs of distressed portion structure
1. Preliminary Inspection

• Photographic Records
• Photographs taken during preliminary survey can be
used as reference during analysis done away from
the site
• Can be used for planning condition survey
• Symptoms of distressed can be related to the age of
• Can be useful in understanding cause of distress
Diagnosis of defects and deterioration
2. Planning Stage

Divided in to three phases

i. Preparation of field documents

ii. Grouping of structural members

iii. Classification of damage

2. Planning Stage
i. Preparation of field documents
a) Survey objective
b) Scope of work
c) Methodology of survey
d) Requirement of field and laboratory testing
e) Requirement of tools and equipment for testing
f) Lists of tasks and their sequence for condition survey
together with work schedule
g) Required number of photocopy of available drawing
h) Worksheet and tables for recording in logical manner all
information, test results including field data collected
i) Previous condition survey results and investigation reports, if any
j) Maintenance and repair record
2. Planning Stage

What is worksheet?
Documents in form of drawing plans, charts and statistical
formats to record data, observations, locations, quality , type
and extent (severity) of damage

Why it is required?
• To study damage pattern and its extent
• Bill of quantities of various repair items
2. Planning Stage

• What does it include?

• Plan of building at each floor level with suitable grid pattern
should be prepared to identify structural member in an RCC
framed structure
• Plan should include each structural element drawn to a
convenient scale so as to record the visual observation on
floor plans itself
• The typical notations and their details used for recording field
observations on each such plans
• Any of symptoms which can not be reflected in form of these
notations can be recorded in form of notes.
2. Planning Stage
ii. Grouping of structural members
Structural members should be grouped as per their type and
based on similar exposure conditions for proper identification of
cause of distress

For example, building subjected to normal environmental attack

a) External columns/beams more severe environmental
Internal Columns/beams less environmental attack
b) External columns at corners likely to be exposed more to
or projected out be grouped separately
2. Planning Stage
c) Members subjected to
dampness/wetting/drying likely to be damaged more
or to be grouped separately
located near toilet shaft
d) Structural members with to be grouped separately
different protective finishes

For assessment of behaviour of the group as a whole,

representative members from each group should be selected for
testing and test result should be tabulated together in a
Performa for their interpretation
2. Planning Stage
iii. Classification of damage based on severity
By using preliminary data collection & site visit, the
repair work should be classified into five classes as per
their severity.

Class 0 Cosmetic repair

Class 1 Superficial repair
Class 2 Patch repair
Class 3 principal repair
Class 4 Major repair
Repair classification
Repair classification
• Classification shown above is generally sufficient for
carbonation induced corrosion damaged structure

• Just indicative classification and same may vary from

case to case

• Should be decided by engineer at work before taking

up detailed condition survey of distressed structure
at field
3. Visual Inspection
• Most effective method of evaluation of structural
soundness and identifying the typical distress symptoms
together with the associated problems

• Provides valuable information to an experienced engineer

in regard to its workmanship, structural deficiency,
serviceability and material deterioration mechanism

• Gives quick scan of health of the structure

• Essential requirements for preparation of bill of quantity

of repair items
• Forms the basis for detailing out the plan of action to
complete the diagnosis of the problems and to
quantify the extent of distress

• Tools like camera, hammer, chisel, binoculars,

magnifying glass, gauge for crack width measurement
should be kept along with.

• Light platform/scaffolding can be used , if required

What visual inspection includes?
• Distressed areas which are easily accessible needs to
be identified and focused work should be carried out
on it

• One or more areas apparently free from defects

would also be examined at this stage for simple

• Preparation of good photographic record is very

Observe order of deterioration due to aging
What visual inspection includes?
1 Obstruction to visual Inspection
• Areas like false ceiling, carpets, recently done paints,
patch work, repair of plaster creates obstruction to
visual inspection. Such areas should be recorded &
analyzed with due care

• Assessment of area at height is also problematic

• Note such obstruction and limitation of visual

inspection, should be done properly while preparing
detailed work plan on repair work
What visual inspection includes?
2 Structural System
• Necessary familiarity with its structural system,
structural behaviour and serviceability requirements

• Main framing system and its bracing should be looked for structural
stability and soundness of structural system

• In case of absence of structural drawing the framing and other

provisions like bracing should be recorded during inspection

• In case of any deviation from structural drawing is found on site,

must be recorded

• Malfunction, if any should be identified with reference to material

distressed observed on site
What visual inspection includes?
3 leakage/seepage due to ineffective
drainage/plumbing system
• Water stagnating areas in structure attract dampness, leakage etc.
& are subjected to alternate wetting /drying cycle which leads to
early corrosion of steel. Needs to be identified

• As concealed water supply and drainage lines are source of

leakage/seepage needs to be identified, established and recorded
during inspection

• Terrace floor of the building is prone to dampness due to

improper terrace treatment, improper slope or inefficient rain
water disposal system. Needs to be inspected and recorded as
damage continues till spalling of concrete cover takes place
What visual inspection includes?
4 Types of cracks and their pattern

• Crack pattern is suggestive of cause of distress

• Location of crack and their pattern etc give first

indication of the problem

Sr. Type of Distress Reason of distress

1 Crack along the reinforcement Indicates corrosion of steel
Cracking & spalling/ Cracking
& rust staining
(in old concrete)

2 Rust staining in freshly laid Indicates honeycomb concrete which

concrete could result in corrosion of steel
3 Cracks at right angle to main Structural deficiency
4 Mesh pattern of cracks Drying shrinkage / surface
crazing/frost attack/alkali aggregate
Shrinkage cracks
Stages of effect of corrosion

• Corrosion initiation
• Stains and cracks
• Radial fracture
• Pop-outs
• Longitudinal cracks
• Delamination
• Spalling
• Exposure
Symptoms of corrosion in RCC
What visual inspection include?

5 Colour and texture of concrete surface

• Texture of concrete indicate possibility of chemical
attack and associated disintegration.

• In fire damaged structure, colour of concrete gives

indication about temperature level which surface
had been subjected.
Documentation under Visual Inspection
Preparation of worksheet

1 Should cover recording of information such as

• Areas of high distress
• Cracks & their locations
• Excessive deflection
• Exposure condition of various distressed areas
• Moisture leakage/seepage & dampness locations
• Abnormal vibration in structures
• Locations of growth of algee, fungus
• Photographic records
2 Identifying areas of immediate concern

• Unique identification for each of the structural

members of the building
• Location, group identification and classification of
• Use of different notation specified for different
types of defects is recommended
• Information gathered from visual inspection will
decide need for further comprehensive
investigation using more sophisticated testing
Field and laboratory testing stage
• Testing of structural concrete and reinforcement is to be
undertaken to support findings of visual inspection and
to quantify extent of damage

• Not possible to conduct testing on each and every

member of distressed building

• Should be undertaken on selective basis on

representative structural member from each group

• Detailed testing programme needs to be chalk out based

on information gathered from visual inspection

Condition survey should include-

• Identification of cause and source of the distress
• Systematic documentation of observations made for
effective economical solution
• Availability of space and accessibility to select repair
• Suitability of repair methodology to on going
activities in the building
• Prioritization of repair and their sequencing
• Requirement of extra features such as propping ,
scaffolding etc.
• Requirement of vacating the building and its time
• Required safety measures during execution of repair
Non destructive testing
Different category of NDT

• In-situ concrete strength

• Chemical attack
• Corrosion activity
• Fire damage
• Soundness of concrete
Concrete Strength Assessment
• To have over all idea of quality of concrete
• To estimate quantitative value of compressive
strength to assess load carrying capacity of structural
member. It may be required to change in usage of
structure, modification or extension of structure or
to measure extent of damage due to earthquake, fire
• Core cutting is partially destructive method
Concrete Strength Assessment

Types of Test

1. Rebound hammer test

2. Penetration resistance
3. Pull out test
4. Core test
Rebound Hammer Test
(IS 13311-part 2 )

• A rebound hammer is principally a surface

hardness tester.

• It works on the principle that the rebound of

an elastic mass depends on the hardness of
the surface against which the mass impinges.
• When the plunger is pressed against the
surface of the concrete, the spring controlled
mass rebounds and the extent of such
rebound depends upon the surface hardness
of concrete.
• The rebound can be read off along a
graduated scale which is known as rebound
number or rebound index.
• Within limits, empirical correlations have been
established between strength properties and
the rebound number

• To assess the likely compressive strength of

• To assess uniformity of concrete
• To assess the quality of one element of
concrete in relation to another
• To differentiate between questionable and
acceptable parts of a structure
• To compare two different structures relatively
Compression Spring
Impact spring

Initial Position

Preparation Phase

Loading phase


• The member to be tested is divided into grid of

30 cm x 30 cm.
• Test should be conducted on each grid area
• Surface to be tested should be smooth, clean and
• Stone should be use to make it smooth if
• Select point at least 20mm away from an edge or
shape discontinuity.
• Hammer should be at right angle to the surface.
• Test can be conducted by keeping hammer in
horizontal, vertical (upward or downward)or in
inclined position depending upon the situation.

• Test should be conducted around all points and on

all accessible faces of member

• For each point of observation at least eight readings

should be taken and then average is taken. If any
reading is deviating from significantly from others
should be considered as outliers and discarded (IS
• Then calibration graph is referred and
compressive strength is found for that.

• Different graphs are there for different

position of hammer
• Indicates compressive strength of concrete is to
a limited depth of concrete from the surface
• If concrete has internal micro cracking, flaws or
any type of diversity across the section rebound
number will not indicate that.
• Accuracy is about + 25%
• Anvil is used to calibrate the rebound hammer.
Anvil is made up of steel having Brinell hardness
of about 5000N/mm2
Penetration Resistance (Windsor Probe or PNR Tester)

• Objective
To determine relative strength of concrete in the same
structure or in the other structure

• Windsor probe works on penetration resistance offered by


• Consists of - Gun powder actuated driver

- Hardened alloy rod probe (length 73mm,
diameter 6.3mm and having conical point)
- Loaded cartridges
- Depth gauge
• Test result usually not affected by surface condition,
texture and moisture content
• Damage in form of crack may be caused to slender
• This technique is useful in determining relative
strength of concrete in the same structure or
different structure but it does not give the absolute
value of compressive strength of concrete
• This test can not be conducted independently. It
requires other strength tests to correlate strength
• Accuracy achieved in the results is about ± 20 %
Factors influencing test results

• The strength properties of both mortar and stone

aggregate influence the penetration depth of the
probe in the concrete
(Whereas crushing strength of cube the strength of
concrete is governed by strength of mortar)
• Thus type of stone aggregate has strong effect on the
relation of concrete strength versus depth of
• For two samples of concrete with equal cube
strength, penetration depth would be higher with
softer aggregate than the one with harder aggregates
• Size of aggregate also influence probe resistance

• Driver is used to fire alloy probe into the concrete

• Leave 50 mm distance from the reinforcement present in
the member
• Exposed length of probe is measured by depth gauge
and depth of penetration is calculated from that
• Relation is established between depth of penetration and
strength of concrete
• Verticality of probe with surface of the concrete is
• Three readings in similar concrete are taken and 4 %
degree of variation should be allowed in the results
• Hole should be refilled with suitable mortar/epoxy
Pin Penetration Tester( PNR Test)
• Requires less energy than Windsor probe
• Low sensitivity with compared to Windsor
• Not suitable for higher grade of concrete (higher
than 28 N/mm2)
• Pointed steel pin is used having diameter 3.56 mm
• Spring loaded device is used to drive the pin in the
• After penetration pin is removed from the concrete.
Penetration of pin creates small hole on the surface
of the concrete
• Hole is cleaned with air jet and the depth of the hole
is measured with the suitable depth gauge
• Each time new pin is required to be used as the pin
gets blunted after use
Pull Out Test

• Test is designed on force required to pull out

embedded material of specific geometry
• Ascertain the strength of concrete for carrying out
post tensioning operations
• To determine the time removal of forms based on
actual in situ strength of the structure
• To decide termination of curing
• Divided under two categories
a. Embedding an steel ring into fresh concrete while
casting and then pulling out with a jack (LOK test)
after hardening after specified period
b. Ring fixed in to a hole drilled into hardened
concrete and pulling out with jack(CAPO test- Cut
and Pull Out Test)
• Diameter of disc/ring – 25 mm
• Distance from concrete surface – 25 mm
• Inner diameter of counter pressure disc – 55 mm
• Relation between pull out force and compressive
strength is established
• Due to pulling action cone shaped fragment of
concrete is extracted
• After the concrete has fractured by this test, the
holes left in the surface are first cleaned off the dust
by blower. It is then primed with epoxy glue and the
hole is filled with polymer modified mortar
immediately thereafter and surface is smoothened.
• Superior to rebound hammer and Windsor probe
test because greater depth of concrete volume
• Not affected by type of cement and aggregate
• Not recommended for aggregate size above 38 mm
• Limitation is that it requires preplanning of testing
before concreting and also special care at the time of
placement of rings/discs to minimize air voids below
the disk
Core Sampling and Testing

• Objective
To determine - Strength and density of concrete
- Depth of carbonation
- Chemical analysis
- Water/Gas permeability
- Petro graphic analysis
- ASTO Chloride permeability test
• Direct assessment of strength

• Gives extra information regarding degree of

compaction, distribution of aggregate, presence of
steel etc.

• Strength of test specimen depends on its shape, size

and proportion of dimensions
• Size of core sample can be fixed by keeping two
criteria in mind
1. Diameter of core - should not be less than 3
times max. size of stone
if not possible to follow, then
number of cores to be tested
should be increased
(100 to 150 mm generally)
2. Height / Diameter ratio – between 1 to 2
• Factors influencing test results
1. Size of stone aggregate
• If ratio of dia. of core / max size of aggregate < 3
will give lesser strength than actual
• For concrete with 20 mm size of aggregate
compressive strength by 50 mm dia. Is 10% lesser
than with 100 mm dia. Size

2. Presence of transverse reinforcing steel

• Causes 5 to 15 % reduction in compressive strength
of core
• Effect of embedded steel is higher on strong concrete
• Effect of embedded steel is higher as its location moves away
from ends
• Presence of steel parallel to the axis of the core is not

3. H/D ratio
• H/D ratio higher than 2 causes reduction in strength

4. Age of concrete
• Affects greatly
• Not possible to figure out exact number as some evidence
suggests in-situ concrete gains little strength after 28 days
whereas others suggest that under average condition increase
in strength after 28 days is 10% after 3 months & 15 % after 6
months (in case of ongoing construction)
• Also age affects in negative side due to other
distressing conditions and reduces strength of

7. Drilling operation
• Strength of core is less than that of standard
cylinders, partly as disturbance due to vibrations
during operations. This is considered as limitation of
the test & need to be kept in mind during analysis
Chemical Tests
Chemical analysis of concrete can provide extremely
useful information regarding the cause of the causes of
the failure

1. Depth of carbonation
• Carried out to determine the depth of concrete
affected due to combined attack of atmospheric
carbon dioxide & moisture causing reduction in
• 0.2 % solution of phenolphthalein is used as pH
indicator of concrete
• Pink colour of concrete - Good health of concrete
No change in colour - Carbonation affected concrete
• In this test hole is drilled on the surface of the
concrete surface to different depths up to cover of
concrete thickness, removing dust by air blower,
spraying phenolphthalein by injection syringe and
needle on such freshly drilled concrete observing the
colour change
• Depth of carbonation is estimated based on change
in colour
2. Chloride Content
• Can be determined from broken samples or core
samples of concrete
• Level of chloride near steel reinforcement is of prime
• Chloride present in the concrete may be fixed or free
• Free chloride is important from corrosion point of
view but total chloride content is determined and
compared with limiting values specified for concrete
Method 1
• In water soluble chloride test, water extracts are
obtained and standard titration experiment is
conducted for determining the water soluble
chloride content and is expressed by weight of
concrete or cement

Method 2
• Acid soluble chloride content can be found as per
procedure described in IS 14959(III):2001
3. Method 3
(Rapid chloride test kit – 4)
• Consists of obtaining powdered samples by drilling
and collecting them from various depths (every 5
mm), mixing the sample (of about 1.5 gm) with a
special chloride extraction liquid & measuring the
electrical potential of the liquid by chloride ion
selective electrode
• With the help of calibration graph showing relation
between electrical potential & chloride content,
chloride content can be determined
Corrosion Potential Assessment

1. Cover meter / Profometer (In situ test)

To measure thickness of cover, reinforcement diameter
and spacing
2. Half cell method (In situ test)
To measure corrosion potential / To find status of
3. Resistivity measurement (in situ test)
To measure corrosion by assessing electrical resistivity of
4. Permeability (Air/water) test (In-situ/Lab test)
To measure permeability of concrete to assess corrosion
2. Half cell potential meter

• Corrosion is electro chemical phenomenon

• Electrode potential of steel rebar with reference to
standard electrode is measured which changes
depending upon the corrosion activity
• Systematic survey should be done on well defined
grid points
• In any case , it should not be used in isolation but
should coupled with chloride content of concrete,
concrete cover and depth of carbonation
• Electrical connection is established to rebar
• Voltage difference is observed between the bar and
reference electrode in contact with concrete surface
• More and more negative voltage potential ---- more
and more active corrosion
• However, less negative potential + less pH value ----
presence of corrosion activity
• A symptom of the corrosion of steel in concrete is
the development of macrocells, which is the co-
existence of passive and corroding areas on the same
reinforcement bar. The current flow in the steel is
accompanied by an electrical field which is measured
at the concrete surface, identifying the location of
the most corroded areas at the most negative values.
• When surface measurements are taken, they are
obviously measured away from the reinforcement
due to the concrete cover. The potentials measured
are therefore affected by the potential ohmic drop in
the concrete.

• Several factors have a significant effect on the

potentials measured
Concrete Cover Depth
Concrete Resistivity
High Resistive Surface Layers
Polarisation Effects
• 0.00 to –0.20 volts indicates greater than 90 percent
probability of no corrosion
• -0.20 to –0.35 volts indicates that corrosion is
• < -0.35 volts indicates greater than 90 percent
probability that corrosion is occurring
• Positive number indicates that the moisture
content of the concrete is insufficient and, therefore,
test is not valid
• The method cannot indicate the actual corrosion
• It may require to drill a small hole to enable electrical
contact with the reinforcement in the member under
examination, and surface preparation may also be
• Effect of protective or decorative coatings applied to
the concrete need to be taken care
3. Resistivity meter

• Works on electrical resistance of concrete

• Possible to measure corrosion rate
• Defines corrosion susceptibility potential of concrete
• Measured values are below 10000 - Long
term corrosion can be anticipated in concrete
• Measured values are below 5000 – much
earlier period (possibly within 5 years)
Assessment of Corrosion risk from resistivity
• Consists of 4 probes
• Known current is applied between two outer probes
100mm apart and voltage drop between the inner
two elements at 50 mm spacing is obtained
• Value obtained represents the average evaluation
over the depth regulated by chosen probe spacing
but not the concrete at steel interface
• Resistivity of concrete varies with moisture content
Corrosion probability based on resistivity
Fire Damage Assessment
1. Differential Thermal analysis (DTA) (Lab test)
• Assessment of qualitative & quantitative
composition of sample of concrete
• DTA is used to study physical and chemical changes
that occur in a material when it is heated
• It works on principal that when a material is slowly
heated, its temperature rises but when a material
undergoes any endothermic reaction viz. loosing
water, loosing CO2, change crystalline structure or
decomposition, its temperature remains constant
• The results of DTA are represented in form of DTA
• During difference in temp. between sample and
reference material generates electrical signal
• The occurrence of electric pulse appears as a peak in
the DTA curves
• DTA curve is plot of temp and electrical signal
• In DTA temp. changes not involving weight loss can
also be detected
• By comparing DTA curve of the sample with that for
known compound, qualitative composition of the
sample can be judged
• Quantitative composition of the sample can also be
judged by measuring size of peak in DTA curve
• In the concrete sample endothermic peak-
at 5000 C – due to calcium hydroxide
at 5700 C – due to conversion of silica
> 5700 C - no peak
2. X – ray diffraction (XRD)
• Works on principal that crystal of substance has a
unique diffraction pattern
• Identified by obtaining its diffraction pattern and
comparing with diffraction pattern of already identified
• By this test molecular structure of compounds can be
• Also possible to find different compounds of the sample
• To assess fire damage this method can be used to
determine extent of deterioration in the concrete due
to fire.
Interpretation & evaluation of test results
• Establishing problem, the probable cause & factors
influencing the deterioration requires careful studies
& analysis of information gathered
• This information should be tabulated on specific
Performa to be prepared depending on the type of
test data, information available for the analysis
• It involves proposing hypothesis & testing results
scenario against the observed facts
• Two or more such hypothesis may be looked at and
tested for their veracity against the available facts
Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity
IS 13311 (Part - I)
Used for qualitative assessment of homogeneity
and integrity of concrete

• To know about
– Homogeneity of the concrete
– Presence of cracks or voids
– Changes in the structure of concrete which may
occur with time
• The same sample can be tested again and
again which is very useful for evaluating
undergoing internal changes in concrete over
a long period of time.
• To check quality of concrete to match with
standard requirement
• To check quality of one element of concrete in
relation to another
• To know dynamic elastic modulus
• Principal
• The ultrasonic pulse is generated by electro-
acoustical transducers. The technique involves
use of sonic waves resulting in no damage to
concrete element to be tested.
• When pulse is induced into concrete from
transducers, it undergoes multiple reflections
at the boundaries of different material phases
within the concrete.
• Three major types of stress waves are
– Longitudinal or compression
– Transverse or shear
– Rayleigh or surface
• Compression wave travel faster followed by
shear and then, surface
• Velocity of waves depends on elastic
properties of the material they travel through
The most accurate

Semi direct
Comparatively less accurate

The least accurate

• Results shows quality of surface layers

which may differ from quality of inside
• Lower than direct velocity on the same
concrete element ( 5 to 20 % depending
upon quality of concrete.
• For good quality of concrete difference of
about 0.5 km/sec may be encountered
• Assessment of quality of concrete is based on the principal
that ---
When quality of concrete in terms of homogeneity,
density and uniformity is good, comparatively higher velocity
is obtained. & lower velocity shows poor quality of concrete.

• Apparatus
• Electrical Pulse Generator
• Transducers
• Amplifier
• Electronic timing device
• Transducers
In general 50 to 60 KHz frequency is useful for most all around

Path length Natural frequency Minimum

( mm) of transducers transverse
(KHz) dimension of
Upto 500 150 25
500 – 700 > 60 70
700 – 1500 > 40 150
Above 1500 > 20 300
• Entire structure should be divided in 30 cm x
30 cm grid or even smaller. Each junction
point of grid may be taken as spot of
• Petroleum jelly, liquid soap, Kaolin glycerol
paste or grease is used to avoid any gap
between transducers and surface of concrete.
• Pulse Velocity = Path length /time
Path length

• For direct transmission method –

Minimum path length should be 150
mm involving one unmolded surface
• For surface probing method -
Minimum 400 mm along unmolded
• Considering influence caused by size of aggregate
Size of aggregate Minimum Path
< 20mm 100 mm
between 20 to 40 mm 150 mm
Influence of test conditions on test results

1 Surface condition
• Smooth surface – Good contact between transducers
and surface of concrete - Effective propagation of
• If uneven and rough – required to smoothen the

2 Moisture content
• Increased moisture content – Higher value of pulse
• In case of low grade concrete --- effect is more
High grade concrete --- effect is less
• Saturated concrete gives about 2 % higher velocity
than dry concrete
3 Path length & Size of concrete member
• In case of laboratory testing - path length affects
• Care should be taken while choosing the transducers

4 Temperature
• Between 50 – 300 C --- No effect
• 300 - 600 C --- Reduction in Pulse velocity up to 5 %
• Below freezing point --- Increase in velocity 7.5 %

5 Influence of stress
• When concrete is subjected to abnormally high stress
—Reduction in velocity due to development of micro
6. Reinforcing Bars
• In vicinity of reinforcing bars – Increased pulse velocity
(Velocity of steel = 1.2 to 1.9 times velocity of concrete)

• Further Increase depends upon

- distance between rebar & path length
- diameter of bar
- no. of bars
- orientation with respect to the path of propagation
• Interpretation
Pulse velocity mainly depends upon density & Modulus of
elasticity of concrete which depend upon materials & mix
proportion, Method of placing, compaction & curing of

• Velocity criterion for quality grading

Sr. No. Pulse velocity by cross probing Concrete
Km/sec Quality Grading

1 Above 4.5 Excellent

2 3.5 to 4.5 Good
3 3.0 to 3.5 Medium
4 Below 3.0 Doubtful
Strength of concrete
• No direct relation between ultra pulse velocity &
Strength of concrete
• Possible if actual mix material and proportion is
available then concrete specimen can be cast and
then correlation between compressive strength of
specimen & its velocity can be established
• This relation is valid for that structure only & not
applicable for another grade & different type of
• Other way is by collecting NDT data on sample cubes
• Dynamic Young’s Modulus

E = ρ ( 1 + µ) ( 1- 2µ) V2
( 1-µ )

µ = Poisson’s ratio (generally between 0.2 to 0.3)

ρ = Density in Kg/m3
V = Pulse velocity in m/ sec
E = Dynamic Young’s Modulus of Elasticity in N/mm2
Crack Depth
C = b*

For inclined cracks

Shape of time t

b b