Accuracy of ground-penetrating radar for concrete pavement thickness measurement

George Morcous, Ece Erdogmus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Core extraction is the most common method for measuring concrete layer thickness in pavement construction. Although this method provides a very accurate thickness measurement, it is destructive, time-consuming, and does not provide adequate representation of the concrete layer thickness variability. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a nondestructive evaluation technique that has been successfully used in several transportation applications, such as subsurface exploration and condition assessment. The main objective of this research is to investigate the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of using GPR in thickness measurement of concrete pavement for quality assurance purposes. A high-resolution 1.6-MHz ground-coupled antenna was used to perform grid scans and measure concrete thickness for several laboratory and field experiments. Results indicated that the use of metal objects underneath the concrete layer to improve bottom surface reflectivity was necessary for a reliable thickness measurement. Also, the use of calibration cores to determine the actual dielectric properties of the concrete was essential for accurate thickness calculation. An average accuracy of 98.5% was achieved when steel plates were used underneath the concrete layer and two cores were extracted for calibration. The effect of concrete age on GPR thickness measurement accuracy was also investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-621
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Performance of Constructed Facilities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Concrete pavement
  • Ground-penetrating radar
  • Nondestructive evaluation
  • Quality assurance
  • Thickness measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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