Researchers at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) (Graz, Austria) have collaborated with the Austrian Society for Construction Technology (OBV) (Vienna, Austria) on a new, simple, and cost-effective method of assessing the condition of concrete structures.
This new method, known as high-resolution luminescent analyses of construction materials (LumAConM), enables a detailed assessment of structural conditions on-site as well as through laboratory measurements. This allows for a quicker and more precise analysis of a variety of potential problem areas, as well as provide researchers with a greater understanding of the course of essential corrosion processes.
“This knowledge enables targeted and cost-effective refurbishment and is essential for the development of new, sustainable and durable materials," says Florian Mittermayr, researcher at the Institute of Technology and Testing of Construction Materials at TU Graz.
The basis of the TU Graz team’s research is optical-chemical sensor technology, which had previously been used in biotechnology and medical technology. “We now want to use the tool to assess the condition of concrete infrastructure and thus develop a completely new generation of sensors for the construction industry,” says Bernhard Müller, chemist at the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food Chemistry.
For instance, TU Graz researchers have used optical measuring technology for the quantitative determination of the pH value in cement-based materials, since that typically correlates with corrosion damage. In the LumAConM project, this measuring system will be further developed so that it can be deployed as a versatile measurement technology by the end of 2022.
TU Graz researchers are also exploring methods of expanding the measuring system to include other parameters such as chloride, thereby empowering an unprecedented effort to study the combined effects of chloride concentration and pH on on-site concrete structures. There are also discussions underway to convert the technology into other formats and applications.
“I think that in the medium to long term, the procedure can replace other, more expensive and more complex investigation methods to a large extent and make quality management in concrete construction much easier,” says Cyrill Grengg from the Institute of Applied Geosciences at TU Graz.
Source: TU Graz, www.tugraz.at.