How versatile is concrete in construction?
Concrete is probably the most used construction material after water as it accounts for nearly twice the quantity of other building materials in most constructions.
The house you currently live in will most likely be built in part with concrete, even if it’s just your front pavement. Sometimes concrete is used for as much as 75% of a building.
But maybe you’re still wondering why concrete is this useful in construction. The reason mainly has to do with its workability since it can be molded into almost any shape while it is still wet.
Also, it is very strong as a load-carrying element once it sets, especially when it is in compression.
But here is the thing. Despite all the benefits of concrete as a construction material, it is tough to determine its internal components once it solidifies.
X-ray technology for concrete
Sometimes reinforcements are embedded in the concrete to increase its elastic properties when loads might induce some bending.
It then becomes impossible to check the quantity or the state of these reinforcements once the concrete has set. But that is not entirely true.
Advancements in construction technology using industrial X-rays have made it possible to scan the concrete elements’ internal components.
It is now easy to scan concrete structures like slabs, beams, and columns to ascertain the quantity and state of embedded reinforcements.
X-rays can also scan other embedded services like conduits, cables, and hold-down bolts to know their conditions inside the concrete.
But that’s not all.
X-ray testing is a non-destructive testing (NDT) technology and, as a result, offers concrete the ability to retain its shape, size, and form after the test has been carried out.
Also known as NDT radiographic testing, X-ray is suitable for all concrete elements either as a member of a framed unit or as a simply supported concrete structure without affecting its structural integrity.
Some of the benefits of X-ray application in the construction industry are highlighted in the following section.
Advantages of X-ray in concrete testing
Other technologies are used in the construction industry for scanning the internal components of concrete. One of these is Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). However, X-ray gives a more accurate and detailed result with the excessive data generated by GPR.
Here are other advantages of industrial X-ray scanning for concrete.
- X-ray provides clear imaging with an accurate representation of the conditions of embedded components. This is especially useful for reinforcements where internal corrosion can reduce its quality, leading to the concrete structure’s failure.
- X-ray scanning of concrete does not generate so much data requiring time-consuming analysis by highly technical personnel. This factor reduces the time it takes to produce results.
- X-ray is also very efficient and gives accurate results with either wet or dry concrete surfaces. This reason is critical in distinguishing X-ray testing from other types of testing like the GPR, which cannot be used with wet surfaces.
- X-ray is an NDT radiographic testing. It means that nothing is damaged during the testing, and the structure remains intact if there has not been an existing internal defect within the concrete system.
- Unlike some other concrete scanning options, X-ray scanning only needs one side of the structural element to generate a precise location of embedded features and services. This reduces the need for entire structural scanning, which can take a lot of time.
Other merits for using industrial X-ray exist at pre-construction stages where it is used to locate buried services like municipal water supply pipes, gas pipes, and sewage pipes. Locating these services ensures that they are preserved during construction works like excavation and other earthworks.
The importance of X-ray technology in the construction industry is quite visible in the results that it produces. These results are precise, fast, more accessible than other concrete scanning options, and come from a non-destructive method of testing.
Concrete elements like slabs, beams, and columns benefit the most since concrete is the predominant building material used in the construction industry.
Therefore, X-rays are very important in the construction industry, seeing that they help in the early identification of defects that may occur internally for concrete elements and other services.