Monitoring of Grouting Compactness in a Post-Tensioning Tendon Duct Using Piezoceramic Transducers
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A post-tensioning tendon duct filled with grout can effectively prevent corrosion of the reinforcement, maintain bonding behavior between the reinforcement and concrete, and enhance the load bearing capacity of concrete structures. In practice, grouting of the post-tensioning tendon ducts always causes quality problems,
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A post-tensioning tendon duct filled with grout can effectively prevent corrosion of the reinforcement, maintain bonding behavior between the reinforcement and concrete, and enhance the load bearing capacity of concrete structures. In practice, grouting of the post-tensioning tendon ducts always causes quality problems, which may reduce structural integrity and service life, and even cause accidents. However, monitoring of the grouting compactness is still a challenge due to the invisibility of the grout in the duct during the grouting process. This paper presents a stress wave-based active sensing approach using piezoceramic transducers to monitor the grouting compactness in real time. A segment of a commercial tendon duct was used as research object in this study. One lead zirconate titanate (PZT) piezoceramic transducer with marble protection, called a smart aggregate (SA), was bonded on the tendon and installed in the tendon duct. Two PZT patch sensors were mounted on the top outside surface of the duct, and one PZT patch sensor was bonded on the bottom outside surface of the tendon duct. In the active sensing approach, the SA was used as an actuator to generate a stress wave and the PZT sensors were utilized to detect the wave response. Cement or grout in the duct functions as a wave conduit, which can propagate the stress wave. If the cement or grout is not fully filled in the tendon duct, the top PZT sensors cannot receive much stress wave energy. The experimental procedures simulated four stages during the grout pouring process, which includes empty status, half grouting, 90% grouting, and full grouting of the duct. Experimental results show that the bottom PZT sensor can detect the signal when the grout level increases towards 50%, when a conduit between the SA and PZT sensor is formed. The top PZT sensors cannot receive any signal until the grout process is completely finished. The wavelet packet-based energy analysis was adopted in this research to compute the total signal energy received by PZT sensors. Experimental results show that the energy levels of the PZT sensors can reflect the degree of grouting compactness in the duct. The proposed method has the potential to be implemented to monitor the tendon duct grouting compactness of the reinforced concrete structures with post tensioning.