As harmless as water may seem from a distance, it has great potential to bring best of human structures on knees and sometimes to ground. Water seepage is one of the major reasons behind enormous damage caused to concrete leading to internal erosion of material. Along with, it carries several other materials with it like road salt from the foundation of a building and speeding up corrosion or damage of its steel supports. In order to address this problem, the North Carolina State University and University of Eastern Finland research team recently introduced a new methodology for tracking water level in concrete with the help of electricity.
Under this method, electrodes are applied around the structure perimeter and small current runs between the pair. Meanwhile, a computer keeps a check and registers the electrical potential of all electrodes located in the structure. As it passes through multiple electrode combinations, researchers are able to generate a 3D image of water inside concrete.According to Mohammad Pour-Ghaz, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University’s civil construction and environmental engineering department, “When we think about construction – from bridges and skyscrapers to nuclear plants and dams – they all rely on concrete.
The pre-existing techniques for water assessments depend highly on x-rays that give out limited penetration into neuron radiation or structure radiation that is more accurate, however, this has limited penetration. Also, these methods are costly and pose safety and health risks. Pour-Ghaz adds” We have developed a technology that allows us to identify and track water movement in concrete using a small current of electricity that is faster, safer and less expensive than existing technologies – and is also more accurate when monitoring large samples, such as structures. The technology can not only determine where and whether water is infiltrating concrete, but how fast it is moving, how much water there is, and how existing cracks or damage are influencing the movement of the water.” The technology is ready to be used on a commercialized level in other labs, Pour-ghaz is also expecting a wide usage of its higher level version in other private segments.
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