Workshop 2

Non-Intrusive Inspection Technologies for Civil Infrastructure Projects

Workshop Chair: Prof. Shen-En Chen, University of North Carolina, USA

Speakers: Tom Scullion, Timo Saarenketo, Paul Sumitro, and Jinying Zhu


Condition monitoring is a critical aspect of sustainable geotechnical projects and is one of the fastest growing domain in Geotechnical engineering disciplines. However, geotechnical projects are characteristically challenging due to the uncertainties in the existing geo-medium conditions and boundary conditions.  Hence, each geotechnical system is unique in its own right and require special field instrumentation considerations. This issue distinguishes condition monitoring for Geo systems from other Civil engineering applications.  This workshop will present from several real life projects encompassing pavements, tunnels, mining sites, bridges, retaining walls and other geo-structures.


This workshop aims at sharing important lessons learned from different projects and demonstrates the wide spectrum of research and applications of innovative technologies for instrumentation and monitoring of geotechnical systems.  Three keynote speakers will share different monitoring technologies that have been developed for civil infrastructure monitoring: Mr. Tom scullion, Regents Fellow and program manager of the Flexible Pavement Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, Texas, USA; Dr. Timo Saarenketo, CEO of Roadscanners Oy and adjunct professor at the Tempere University of Technology, Pirkanmaa, Finland; and Dr. Paul Sumitro, CEO of Smartsensys, LLC, Urbana Champaign, Illinois, USA.



1)    Tom Scullion, P.E., Program Manager of the Flexible Pavement Program at Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Mr. Scullion is a Regens Fellow at the Texas A&M University and has been involved in pavement research for over 40 years.  He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas.  As head of the Flexible Pavement Program, he manages ten full-time researchers, several experienced technicians and 30 graduate and undergraduate students.  His program is active in many areas of pavement research including rehabilitating severely damaged oilfield roadways; nondestructive testing; soil stabilization; full depth reclamation; rubblization of concrete pavements; mix design and overlay design.  The goal of the Flexible Pavement program is to conduct innovative multi-disciplinary research which provides the funding agency with products which can readily be implemented.

Summary: The use of nondestructive testing (NDT) is well established in Texas.  Being able to identify the root cause of pavement problems is essential when selecting the optimal rehabilitation strategy for damaged roadways.  This is also critical for minimizing the time to roadway closure for repair, avoiding surprises during the construction process and ensuring that the selected strategy will be long lasting.  This presentation will survey the NDT equipment routinely in use in Texas, describing the custom built data acquisition and the data processing systems.  It will then describe applications of the next generation equipment currently undergoing field evaluation and implementation.  These include TxDOT’s unique Rolling Deflectometer System (TPAD) which is the only known operational project level continuous deflection measuring system.  The TPAD system collects deflection data at 5 cm intervals and can monitor the load transfer efficiency of all cracks and joints in jointed concrete pavements.  In addition, the use of 3D radar will be described and its performances will be compared and contrasted with the traditional 1 GHz horn antennas.  Finally, many areas of Texas have experienced major rain event in the past 5 years, this has caused the DOT to evaluate the drainage adequacy of many of its existing roadways.  Evaluations are being made with laser scanning technologies to identify deficient sections of roadways where drainage improvements will be required.

2)    Timo Saarenketo, Ph.D. CEO of Roadscanners Oy

Dr. Timo Saarenketo is the CEO of Roadscanners Oy. He also works as an adjunct professor at the Tampere University of Technology.  He is specialized in ground penetrating radar (GPR) and other non-destructive testing (NDT) based road and bridge and other traffic infrastructure analysis, pavement and roadway design, rehabilitation design, road material surveys, site investigations, geophysical and engineering geological surveys.  A special interest is also low traffic volume road condition management in cold climate areas. Over the last few years, he has also been working on an analysis of the impacts of new heavy trucks on the condition of pavement structures.  Since 1998, Saarenketo has been working in different roles in ROADEX projects, partly funded by EU North Periphery Program, which focuses on road condition management policies and technologies of low volume roads in Northern Europe.

Summary: During the coming years, the transportation infrastructure asset management in many countries will face increasing problems as pavement structure are getting older and fatigued and, at the same time, funding for the road network has constantly decreased. In addition, new autonomous vehicles, driving like trains with respect to the road cross section, can cause extra stress on the road pavements. In many countries, the trucks have also become heavier and new tyre footprints are smaller, which causes higher contact stress on the pavements.  That is why new pavement distress types, such as top-down cracking, can now be seen in our pavements. The only solution to tackle these problems is to start to improve the productivity and efficiency of road management policies and practices.  This can be done by applying modern road survey and diagnostic technologies in every day works.  Thanks to them it is already possible to have major improvements in the productivity and efficiency of road asset management.

3)    Paul Sumitro, Ph.D., MBA, P.E., S.E., President, Smartsensys LLC.

Dr. Sumitro earned his PhD from Yokohama University, Japan.  Prior to forming Smartsensys, Dr. Paul Sumitro was the chief engineer at Keisoku Research Consultants (KRC), Japan, and President of Smart Structures, LLC, USA.  Dr. S. Paul Sumitro has earned a reputation as one of the most active minds in the field of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and non-destructive evaluation (NDE).  He regularly collaborated with universities including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Drexel University and University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA, Hiroshima University and Yokohama University, Japan.  Dr. Sumitro has developed several advanced SHM technologies including, wireless MEMS-based transducers, UAV imaging systems, tunnel visualization systems, etc. Several of which have been successfully implemented worldwide including projects in Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, China and South America.

Summary: Structural health monitoring (SHM) is an important technology that integrates mechanics, advanced opto-acousto-electronics, mechatronics and computer applications for the purposes of ensuring physical structure stability and functionalities. This presentation will introduce several new sensing technologies for SHM including terrestrial 3D LiDAR scanners, laser Doppler vibrometer, electromagnetic cable sensors, wireless MEMS based sensors, GPS-based cameras-equipped truck for tunnel sensing.  This presentation will examples of multiple sensor integrated monitoring systems and actual application to tunnel and geotechnical system monitoring.  Case studies from different countries will be presented.

4)    Jinying Zhu, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Jinying Zhu is an associate professor in Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She received her Ph.D. degree in civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. Her research interests include NDT for concrete, wave propagation, cement material characterization using ultrasonic waves, and innovative sensing techniques. Dr. Zhu is a recipient of the ASNT Fellowship Award in 2012, and three times winner of ACI-James Instruments Award. Dr. Zhu’s research projects have been sponsored by US federal and state agencies, including National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOT), and ASNT. She is an associate editor of Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation.

Summary: "Non-contact Air-coupled Sensing for Rapid Evaluation of Bridge Decks" Elastic wave-based non-destructive testing (NDT) methods are commonly used for evaluation of civil engineering infrastructure, including bridges, dams and buildings. However, most of these methods require coupling (direct contact) between sensors and the test surface, which significantly restricts the testing speed and consistency, especially for large scale concrete structures in civil engineering.
The air-coupled sensing technology was developed by Dr. Jinying Zhu as a solution for rapid scanning of concrete infrastructure. In this lecture, Dr. Zhu will review the development of air-coupled sensing technique for civil engineering applications, including fundamental theory and application of air-coupled sensing on concrete structures. A recently developed automated acoustic scanning system for quick bridge deck evaluation and imaging will be presented in the workshop.