ASSESSING THE CONDITION OF BURIED PIPE USING GROUND PENETRATING RADAR (GPR)
The invention of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology has facilitated the possibility of detecting buried utilities and has been used primarily in civil engineering for detecting structural defects, such as voids and cavities in road pavements, slabs and bridge decks, but has not been used to assess the condition of buried pipes. Pipe deterioration can be defined as pipes where, for example, cracking, differential deflection, missing bricks, collapses, holes, fractures and corrosion exists. Assessing the deterioration of underground pipes is important for service efficiency and asset management. This paper describes a research project that focused on the use of GPR for assessing the condition of buried pipes. The research involved the construction of a suitable GPR test facility in the laboratory to conduct controlled testing in a dry sand. Plastic pipes were chosen for the experiments. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the validity and effectiveness of standard commercially available GPR technology in assessing the condition of buried utilities with common types of damage. Several types of damage to the plastic pipe were investigated with respect to different GPR antenna frequencies. The GPR surveys were carried out in order to obtain signal signatures from damaged and undamaged pipes buried at 0.5 m depth. These surveys were organised on a grid pattern across the surface of the sand in the test facility. The results presented in this paper show that GPR can identify certain types of damage associated with a buried pipe under these controlled laboratory conditions.