Assessing corrosion damage in reinforced concrete beams using acoustic emission

Dong Jin Yoon*, W. Jason Weiss, David W. Prine, Surendra P. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The acoustic emission (AE) behavior of reinforced concrete beams tested under flexural loading was investigated to characterize and identify the source of damage. This research was aimed at identifying the characteristic AE response associated with micro-crack development, localized crack propagation, corrosion, and debonding of the reinforcing steel. Concrete beams were prepared to isolate the damage mechanisms by using plain, notched-plain, reinforced, and corroded-reinforced specimens. The beams were tested using four-point cyclic step-loading. The complete acoustic emission response was recorded during each stage of loading and unloading. The AE response was analyzed to obtain key parameters such as the total number and rate of AE events, the amplitude and duration of the events, and the characteristic features of the waveform. Initial analysis of the AE signal has shown that a clear difference in the AE response is observed depending on the source of the damage. By plotting the AE signal amplitude versus duration (cross-plot), it can be seen that distributed micro-cracking has a relatively low amplitude and short duration, whereas debonding cracks have a higher amplitude and longer duration. The Felicity ratio exhibited a correlation with the overall damage level, while the number of AE events during unloading can be an effective criterion to estimate the level of corrosion distress in reinforced concrete structures. Generally, both AE parameter analysis and waveform analysis exhibited a favorable correlation with the damage level of the reinforced concrete beams. Consequently, AE measurement characterization appears to provide a promising approach for estimating the level of corrosion distress in reinforced concrete structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Mar 3 1999
EventProceedings of 1999 Nondestructive Evaluation of Bridges and Highways III - Newport Beach, CA, USA
Duration: Mar 3 1999Mar 5 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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