Use of electromagnetic two-layer wave-guided propagation in the GPR frequency range to characterize water transfer in concrete
The objective of this paper is to adapt a recent innovative technique for extracting and exploiting the Electromagnetic (EM) waveguide dispersion of civil engineering materials by means of GPR, and allowing to monitor the water ingress front during the absorption process for various concrete mixes. This technique is based on an inversion procedure that applies the Electromagnetic Waveguide Model (WGM) to invert phase velocity dispersion curves in their modal form. A Parallel homogenization model, derived from the Lichtenecker-Rother equation, has been employed to extend the waveguide model from a one-layer to a two-layer medium. The WGM outputs are then used to estimate the geometric parameters of the propagation medium and offer a primary application to water transfer monitoring in concrete through capillarity effects. The initial WGM validation is carried out on FDTD-simulated propagation signals, while the second validation relies on GPR data acquired from homogeneous materials. Then, a broad-based experimental study is conducted for the purpose of correlating electromagnetic waveguide dispersion parameters with both the geometric and hydric characteristics of various concrete mixes. Results obtained using the two-layer WGM serve to monitor the water ingress front during an absorption process. These results are then compared to the moisture gradients generated on cores using gammadensimetry, which is set as the reference. This procedure yields a number of trends, which in turn provide key information on the conditioning state of the studied concretes.
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