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Concrete X-Ray: What Is It And Where Is It Used?

The non-destructive application called concrete x-ray utilizes gamma or x-rays to come up with an image of a concrete’s interior in order to figure out and locate specific embedded objects that could cause harm or distraction in a project; some of the most common of these embedded objects include rebar, conduit, and post tension cables.

In many of the instances, the x-ray source is an isotope, either cobalt-60 or iridium-192, but there also are times when the x-rays are generated using an x-ray tube. The process will only work if there’s a detector, usually coming in the form of a digital detector panel or the traditional film type.

Although there can be several uses for concrete x-ray, the objective is pretty much the same: to reveal the inside of a concrete target without the need of moving, cutting, or destroying it. The most common targets include that of concrete walls and/or suspended slabs, which in turn are going to be subjected to retrofitting or renovation. For the most part, the walls or slabs made out of concrete are only a part of a much bigger structure.
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In reality, concrete x-ray is quite a revolutionary method because in the past, there was no other way to figure out what’s inside the concrete target than to cut through it. In the case of cutting through rebar, there’s a possibility that the structure will be weakened, while there’s also a chance that it can be done successfully by staying within the limits called structural tolerance. On the other hand, there’s a huge difference if the attempt is to cut through post tension cables since doing so can lead to an almost certain damage to the structural integrity of the building. As a matter of fact, it no longer is deliberately used or performed these days. Finally, cutting through conduit is also not advised because any accidental cut in it could lead to very expensive repairs and very serious safety issues.
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Nowadays, the use of concrete x-ray has become a priority for many structural engineers for the reason that it remains to be the most effective method of determining if there are any hazards or hidden objects inside a concrete target, and any plan of cutting through concrete material won’t commence without this procedure. Though some contend that ground penetrating radar is the future and that it is safer since it does not use cobalt or iridium, the fact will remain that it still is the more effective method in terms of producing clearer and more accurate images of interior contents of a specific concrete slab. Also, engineers love working with x-rays since they’re easier to translate or interpret. It’s no secret that concrete x-ray is a bit costlier compared to ground penetrating radar, but in actual field application, the difference would not be that big of a deal.