Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Udaya B. Halabe.


Recent studies have focused on the development of Fiber Reinforcement Polymer (FRP) as an alternative construction material for highway bridge decks.;The goal of this study was to explore the viability of nondestructive testing of FRP bridge decks using infrared thermography (IRT) and ground penetrating radar (GPR).;All tests were conducted on a 6' x 3' (1828.8mm x 914.4mm) low profile (4'' or 101.6mm deep) FRP bridge deck and a 3' x 2' (914.4mm x 609.6mm) low profile FRP bridge deck specimen with embedded delaminations. Replaceable wearing surface modules with air-voids of varying sizes were used to simulate air-filled debonds between the wearing surface and the FRP bridge deck. To simulate the water-filled debonds, custom made water-pouches were placed in the air-voids.;Solar radiation, commercially available heater, and heating blankets were utilized as active heat sources in the IRT tests. The effectiveness of each heat source in subsurface detection of defects was examined.;A simple finite element model was created to study the heat transfer phenomena between the FRP bridge deck with wearing surface and the surroundings. The FE model enabled a theoretical study of the effect of subsurface defect thickness on the surface temperature profile. Results from the model were also compared to the experimental results obtained through the IRT tests.;A 1.5GHz ground-coupled antenna and a 2.0GHz air-coupled antenna were utilized in the GPR tests for this study. They were used in an attempt to identify both air-filled and water-filled debonds and delaminations. The effectiveness of each antenna in detecting subsurface defects was carefully examined.;The results of this study have shown that a combination of GPR and IRT techniques can lead to an effective nondestructive testing system for detecting subsurface defects in FRP Bridge Decks.