Study of the Effect of Source Application on Sonic Echo Tests in Timber Piles

Document Type: Research Papers


1 Senior Lecturer, Department of Engineering Technology, University of North Texas, 3940 N Elm St, Denton, TX 76207 USA

2 Civil Engineering Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA


The long-term effects of scour have been identified as one of the primary reasons for bridge failure. To evaluate the performance of the bridges against scour, it is essential to assess the conditions of the bridge foundation including the depth of the piles.  Sonic Echo (SE) has been a favorable nondestructive method to evaluate the condition of unknown bridge foundations in the recent decades. Previous studies have shown that the results obtained from SE tests can be affected by a variety of factors such as the pile-to-soil stiffness ratio, length-to-diameter ratio of the pile, presence of defects and anomalies near the pile head, striking method, and hammer type. Although previous studies have discussed such affecting factors, there is a lack of comprehensive investigation regarding the effect of striking method and hammer tip type specific to wood piles supporting bridge decks. In the current study, the effect of striking method and hammer type on the success of SE tests conducted on wood piles has been scrutinized by investigating various options of striking methods and hammer tip types. After comparing different options, superior ones were identified and recommendations for better conducting the SE tests on unknown wood bridge foundations were presented. Numerical simulations were also performed to support some of the conclusions.


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