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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(11), 935; doi:10.3390/rs8110935

Post-Earthquake Damage Inspection of Wood-Frame Buildings by a Polarimetric GB-SAR System

1
Department of Electronic Science, Institute of Electromagnetics and Acoustics, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
2
Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8576, Japan
3
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0291, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Salvatore Stramondo, Nicola Masini, Xiaofeng Li and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 14 September 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
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Abstract

Structural damage inspection after an earthquake is essential for safety assessment of the affected wood-frame buildings and for making knowledgeable decision regarding their repair, renovation, or replacement. We present a polarimetric radar system for sensing the concealed wood-frames damaged by earthquakes. This system employs an antenna array consisting of four linearly polarized Vivaldi antennas recording full-polarimetric radar echoes in an ultra-wideband ranging from 1 to 20 GHz. The detailed design of the system and the signal processing algorithms for high-resolution 3D imaging are introduced. We conducted a number of surveys on damaged wooden wall specimens in laboratory. The experiment results indicate that the high-frequency radar waves can penetrate the wooden walls. Deformations of wooden structures (about 2 cm displacement) inside the wall, as well as the concealed small metal nails (about 3 mm in diameter and less than 2 cm in length) and bolts can be clearly imaged. The shape and orientation of the wooden members have shown a great sensitivity to the radar polarization. It is concluded that radar polarimetry can provide much richer information on the condition of concealed building structures than the conventional single-polarization subsurface penetrating radar. View Full-Text
Keywords: ground-based synthetic aperture radar (GB-SAR); radar polarimetry; wood-frame building; earthquake damage; non-destructive testing (NDT) ground-based synthetic aperture radar (GB-SAR); radar polarimetry; wood-frame building; earthquake damage; non-destructive testing (NDT)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, H.; Koyama, C.; Zhu, J.; Liu, Q.; Sato, M. Post-Earthquake Damage Inspection of Wood-Frame Buildings by a Polarimetric GB-SAR System. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 935.

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