A photophone-based remote nondestructive testing approach to interfacial defect detection in fiber-reinforced polymer-bonded systems

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Journal / PublicationStructural Health Monitoring
Issue number2
Online published12 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


Externally bonded fiber-reinforced polymer is an increasingly popular material to be used in strengthening and retrofitting aging structures. In such structures, debonding defects may occur at or near the interface between fiber-reinforced polymer and concrete. As such debonding in fiber-reinforced polymer-bonded systems is generally brittle in nature, there is a need of a reliable inspection technique that can provide early warning of interfacial defects such that premature failure of fiber-reinforced polymer-strengthened structures can be avoided. A remote nondestructive testing approach based on the working principle of a photophone is presented here as an economical alternative to laser Doppler vibrometry for detecting interfacial defects. Concrete specimens retrofitted with fiber-reinforced polymer are excited acoustically by white noise, while the surface of the structure is illuminated by a light source. If an interfacial defect exists beneath the surface, the surface will exhibit a frequency response different from an intact surface. The surface of the fiber-reinforced polymer portrays the role of flexible mirror in a photophone, which encodes information about surface vibration into amplitude-modulated light signal. A light detector then captures the irradiance of the reflected beam, and the amplitude modulation is converted into frequency domain in post-processing. With this technique, defect dimensions and thus damage extent can be inferred from the frequency spectrum obtained. The obtained results correspond well with the theoretical calculation, demonstrating the robustness and the applicability of the proposed technique in civil infrastructure.

Research Area(s)

  • Acoustic-laser, amplitude-modulated modal analysis, fiber-reinforced polymer, interfacial defect, nondestructive testing, photophone