Validating a Physics-Based Automatic Classification Scheme for Impact Echo Signals on Data Using a Concrete Slab with Known Defects

Agnimitra Sengupta, Hoda Azari, S. Ilgin Guler, Parisa Shokouhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Impact echo (IE) is capable of locating subsurface defects in concrete slabs from the vibrational response of the slab to a mechanical impact. For an intact slab (“good” condition), the frequency spectrum of the IE is dominated by a single peak corresponding to the slab’s “thickness resonance frequency,” whereas the presence of subsurface defects (“fair” or “poor” conditions) could manifest in various ways such as multiple distinct peaks at frequencies higher, or lower, than the thickness resonance. In previous research, the authors have proposed a frequency partitioning of the spectrum for IE signal classification. Firstly, the thickness resonance frequency band is identified using a data-driven approach and then the IE signals are represented by their energy distribution in three bands—frequencies less than, within, and greater than the thickness resonance. Following this feature extraction, an unsupervised clustering approach is used to identify the centroids for each signal class—good, fair, and poor—which are further used to classify any test signal into one of the three aforementioned classes. The classification is developed by training on unlabeled IE signals from real bridge deck data (the Federal Highway Administration’s [FHWA’s] InfoBridge dataset) without making use of any labeled data. This study aims to validate the proposed methodology on a labeled dataset of eight reinforced concrete specimens constructed at the FHWA Advanced Sensing Technology Nondestructive Evaluation laboratory having known artificial defects. Our findings indicate that the physics-based feature definition and the method developed on real bridge data are robust and can classify IE signals in the labeled data with moderate accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-351
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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