GPR case study: How we used GPR survey methods to determine the gas holder base thickness non-intrusively and with access to one side only.
GPR can be used to determine slab thickness and construction detail non-destructively. This can be achieved by scanning the required area with a number of scanlines positioned as required, or for a more detailed survey, by scanning on a regular orthogonal grid.
We recently undertook an interesting variation of this type of survey, where we were required to determine the thickness and construction detail of a gas holder base at a London gasworks. This posed a number of problems, notably the sloping sides of the base.
GPR survey method
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) scans were collected along radial grid lines at 10m centres measured along the base circumference. The sloping sides were scanned by pulling the antenna and survey wheel (to record positional information and regulate the scan rate) up the sloping concrete.
A GSSI SIR-3000 GPR system was used with two antennas (central frequencies of 1.5GHz and 900Mhz), giving a range of depths and resolutions. The 1.5GHz antenna would typically penetrate to a depth of 400mm in concrete and suitable for detecting shallow features such as layers of reinforcement, whilst the 900MHz antenna would typically penetrate to a depth of 0.9m in concrete (conditions permitting), thus resolving deeper features, albeit with a loss in resolution in the data.
The base slab thickness was nominally 275mm thick, varying between 180-380mm.
Two layers of 200mm mesh reinforcement were detected in the slab top. The top layer at 50-90mm depth and the second layer at 140-260mm depth. The sloping sides were reinforced with one layer of 400mm mesh reinforcement at 100-190mm depth.