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Artefacts occurring during GPR-measurements at concrete

In this outline will firstly be explained, how artificial events are generated in a radargram as a result of the regular arrangement of steel bars in reinforced concrete. Subsequently, migration is used to distinguish these artefacts from real objects. Also will be shown, that these artefacts can cover the information of real objects like an air-filled PE tube, e.g.. This outline is addressed to both, readers, who want to have a quick overview, and readers, who want to go in details. Please refer to that main chapter, which is adequate to your intention: ABSTRACT (below) or DETAILED DISCUSSION (see page 4).

ABSTRACT
The following figures are divided in three parts A, B and C: Part A shows a sketch of the particular model, part B the resulting traveltime data (radargram) and part C the migrated radargram. In all figures we focus on two events: A single shot measurement with a bi-static antenna at x-pos. = 0,65 m (blue) and another single shot measurement at x-pos. = 0,85 m (violet). In all sketches of the models blue or violet arrows are used to indicate schematically the propagation of the electromagnetic waves emitted by the blue or violet antenna, resp.. In Fig. 1 is shown, how artificial events can be generated due to the regular geometry of reinforcing steel bars. A correct interpretation can be done by migrating the radargram in Fig. 1.B, which yields to the migrated section in Fig. 1.C. In this migrated section, the steel bar hyperbolas collapse at the correct x-positions (indicated by I and II), whereas the artefacts are over-migrated and clearly identified by the so-called smiles. In Fig. 2 to Fig. 7 is shown, that these artefacts can cover the information of real objects like an air-filled PE tube or an air-filled PE tube with a cable inside. For all sketches in Fig. 2 to Fig. 7 the following conclusions can be drawn: S If the information of elements like air-filled PE tubes with/without a cable inside are covered by artefacts, already their identification is often impossible, even if Fig. 1: Artefact as a result of the regular migration is used! arrangement of steel bars. S In the unmigrated section the information of these elements are covered almost totally. S Even if an element is identified under these conditions a determination of its dimensions is nevertheless not possible. S Also, a statement about the dielectric parameters of the element is impossible! S Conclusions drawn by looking at the phases of the back-scattered wavelets are often wrong because of interferences, which can occur.

Sandmeier geophysical software - GPR modeling catalogue - author: Dr. Volker Mayer 1/6

Fig. 2: Air-filled tube NOT covered by artefacts.

Fig. 3: Air-filled tube covered by artefacts.

Fig. 4: Air-filled tube with cable inside, NOT covered by artefacts.

Sandmeier geophysical software - GPR modeling catalogue - author: Dr. Volker Mayer 2/6

Fig. 5: Air-filled tube with cable inside, covered by artefacts.

Fig. 6: Tube with cable inside, covered by artefacts, 3 cm higher.

Fig. 7: Tube with cable inside, covered by artefacts, 6 cm higher.

Sandmeier geophysical software - GPR modeling catalogue - author: Dr. Volker Mayer 3/6

DETAILED DISCUSSION
The data shown in the previous figures are synthetic data, i.e., the electromagnetic and geometrical conditions are known. The figures are divided in three parts A, B and C: Part A shows a sketch of the particular model, part B the resulting traveltime data (radargram) and part C the migrated radargram. In all figures the model consists of dry concrete ( = 6, = 1, = 0,0 S/m, vconcrete = 0,1225 m/ns), in which bars of reinforcing steel ( = 6, = 1, = 99,9 S/m) are embedded. The radius of these bars is r = 0,01 m and their midpoints are located at z = 0,10 m of depth. The bars are 0,2 m separated from each other and are indicated as object I, II, IV and V, resp.. Object III in Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 represents an air-filled PE tube in addition to the bars: PE: = 2,4, = 1, = 0,0 S/m, r = 0,015 m, thickness of wall = 0,002 m, midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, zpos. = 0,261 m. air: = 1, = 1, = 0,0 S/m. Object VI in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 represents the same air-filled PE tube as Object III but with an additional thin metallic cable situated inside: PE: = 2,4, = 1, = 0,0 S/m, r = 0,015 m, thickness of wall = 0,002 m, midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, zpos. = 0,261 m. air: = 1, = 1, = 0,0 S/m. cable: = 1, = 1, = 99,99 S/m, r = 0,004 m, midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, z-pos. = 0,270 m. Object VII in Fig. 6 and Object VIII in Fig. 7 represent the same air-filled PE tube as Object VI in Fig. 5, but are situated in differing depths: Object VII: midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, z-pos. = 0,231 m, cable midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, z-pos. = 0,240 m. Object VIII: midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, z-pos. = 0,201 m, cable midpoint: x-pos. = 0,7 m, z-pos. = 0,210 m. NOTE: In order to increase the informative value of all sketches the objects I to VIII are drawn on a much larger scale. The synthetic radargrams are calculated with an FD-scheme for antennas with a center frequency c = 1 GHz, namely the wavelength is = vconcrete/ c = 0,1225 m. So, the spatial dimension of the objects are of the same order of magnitude as the wavelength used. In all figures we focus on two events: A single shot measurement with a bi-static antenna at x-pos. = 0,65 m (blue) and another single shot measurement at x-pos. = 0,85 m (violet). In all sketches of the models blue or violet arrows are used to indicate schematically the propagation of the electromagnetic waves emitted by the blue or violet antenna, resp..

The origin of the artefacts and possible misinterpretations:


Looking at Fig. 1.B one can see as expected two hyperbolas (indicated as A and B, resp.), which are caused by the reflection of the direct waves at the steel bars. In contrast, the hyperbola indicated 1-2-3 and 3-2-1, the cusp of which (x = 0,9 m, t . 4 ns) is exactly situated between the cusps of the hyperbolas resulting from the steel bars (x = 0,8 m and x = 1,0 m, resp.), has no equivalent in the model. Also, the bend of this hyperbola differs from the bend of the steel bar hyperbolas.

Sandmeier geophysical software - GPR modeling catalogue - author: Dr. Volker Mayer 4/6

The explanation for this artefact is given in Fig 1.A by the arrows 1-2-3 or 3-2-1, resp.: The wave emitted by the transmitter of the bi-static antenna is not directly reflected to the receiver but is firstly scattered at one of the steel bars and than reflected to the receiver by another steel bar. Because of the regular geometry of the steel bars, the cusps of such artefacts are exactly positioned in between of two cusps of the steel bar hyperbolas. (See also the following figures.) The differing bend of this artefact, which leads to a wrong velocity, if a synthetic traveltime-hyperbola is adapted, can also be explained taking into account that the measured energy does not result from a direct reflection: The path 1-2-3 is always longer than the direct path A, e.g.. If this longer path (1-2-3, e.g.) is not taken into account, the longer traveltime leads to a 10 % lower velocity if a synthetic hyperbola is fitted to the data: vartefact = 0,11 m/ns in comparison to the correct velocity vconcrete = 0,1225 m/ns. So, the consideration of a direct wave traveling through a homogenous medium leads to a too low velocity, because of a wrong geometrical assumption. Of course the velocity within the underground medium may change but the necessary velocity decrease is quite high (about 20 %). Besides the big velocity differences, the polarity of the artefacts in the radargram could be another hint, that they do not originate at real objects in the model: Caused by the reflection at one additional steel bar, their polarity is shifted 180 compared to the polarity of the steel bar events. But, if the spatial dimension of the objects are of the same order of magnitude as the wavelength used, it is not useful to examine the polarity of measured wavelets when interpreting a radargram. These wavelets are often the result of different wavelets, which interfere with one another. Therefore, the polarity of such a wavelet can show various polarities depending on spatial dimensions or velocity distributions, e.g., in the examined material! (See also Fig. 2 to Fig. 5 below.)

Correct interpretation of the artefacts using migration:


Using the correct velocity vconcrete the migration of the radargram in Fig. 1.B yields to the migrated section in Fig. 1.C. In this migrated section, the steel bar hyperbolas collapse at the correct x-positions (indicated by I and II), whereas the artefacts are over-migrated and so-called smiles arise.

Is it possible to discriminate an air-filled tube from steel bars and their artefacts or not? Which problems can occur?
Radar is often used to find air-filled cavities or tubes in concrete. Therefore, in Fig. 2 an air-filled tube is added to the model of Fig. 1 to examine, if it is possible to discriminate such an element from the steel bars and their artefacts. As in the case of the steel bars, the spatial dimension of this tube is of the same order of magnitude as the wavelength used. As expected, one can recognize an additional hyperbola indicated as C in Fig. 2.B, the amplitude of which is relatively weak compared to the steel bar hyperbolas. Because of its dimension, it is not possible to measure two separate wavelets originating at the top and the bottom of the tube, resp., but only their superposition. The first reflection from the top is nearly not visible and at first glance the phase characteristics seem to be very similar to those of the steel bar diffractions. For this reason, one cannot conclude from the wavelets phase , that this hyperbola event C stems from an air-filled tube! This fact becomes even more obvious looking at the migration of the radargram with vconcrete (Fig. 2.C): Hyperbola C collapses as well as the steel bar hyperbolas and an additional object (indicated with III) is clearly visible. The leading polarities of the artefact and of the air filled tube differ which allows a discrimination of these two events.

Sandmeier geophysical software - GPR modeling catalogue - author: Dr. Volker Mayer 5/6

The situation becomes much more complicated if a series of steel bars is located above the air filled tube (Fig. 3). The artefacts and the air filled tube answers show very similar diffraction patterns (Fig. 3.C). Knowing the model of Fig. 3.A one can recognize differences in the migrated section, comparing the two regions indicated by the dashed rectangles (Fig. 3.C): Inside the right rectangle only the superposition of artefacts are visible, whereas in the left rectangle the superposition of the object III and the artefacts 1-4-5 and 5-4-1, resp., shows an additional negative phase. But, taking into account that we did not include any noise computing the radargrams, it is obvious, that there will be no chance in reality to identify an air-filled tube, which is covered by the artefacts of steel bars situated above the tube. Within the unmigrated section (Fig. 3.B) the air filled tube diffraction cannot be detected at all because of the multiple interferences (see the two regions indicated by the dashed rectangles in the radargram of Fig. 3.B.) In Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 is demonstrated, in which way an additional metallic cable inside the tube effects the radar pattern of the air-filled tube. Even though the reflection coefficient of a metallic object is nearly 1 = 0,92 for reinforcing steel , e.g.), the effects are quite poor for the following reasons: the energy penetration into the air filled tube is poor because of the geometrical divergence when penetrating into a medium with higher velocity superposition of different wavelets which also may lead to destructive interference - the reflection at the top of the tube, the reflection at the thin cable and the reflection at the bottom of the tube interfere with one another. Therefore, even comparing the data in Fig. 4 with the data in Fig. 2, only an assumption is possible, that an additional metallic cable could be situated inside the air-filled tube! Actually, one only can recognize differences in the migrated sections, but an explication for these discrepancies can not be found in the data. If the tube is additionally covered by artefacts, not even the comparison of the data of Fig. 5 with the data of Fig. 3, gives any hint, that an additional cable could be situated in the tube! So, without knowing the different models, there is no chance to state out, which object is found in the data. To further illustrate how big the variation of the resulting wavelets can be if interference plays a role, the depth of the tube was varied in the following two figures: Compared to Fig. 5 the tube in Fig. 6 and in Fig. 7, resp., is situated 3 cm and 6 cm higher, resp.. In Fig. 6.B the leading positive phase of the artefact is nearly completely damped due to the interference with the wavelet stemming from the air-filled tube. In the migrated section (Fig.6.C) this interference leads to a damage of the artificial smiles. In Fig.7.C a clear additional negative phase appears at smaller times which stems from the air filled tube. In this situation a discrimination of the artefacts and of the air filled tube is given.

Conclusion
For all sketches in Fig. 2 to Fig. 7 the following conclusions can be drawn: If the information of elements like air-filled PE tubes with/without a cable inside are covered by artefacts, already their identification is often impossible, even if migration is used! In the unmigrated section the information of these elements are covered almost totally. Even if an element is identified under these conditions a determination of its dimensions is nevertheless not possible. Also, a statement about the dielectric parameters of the element is impossible! Conclusions drawn by looking at the phases of the back-scattered wavelets are often wrong because of interferences, which can occur.

Sandmeier geophysical software - GPR modeling catalogue - author: Dr. Volker Mayer 6/6