Commenced in January 2007
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Creating 3D Models Using Infrared Thermography with Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems

Authors: P. van Tonder, C. C. Kruger


Concrete structures deteriorate over time and degradation escalates due to various factors. The rate of deterioration can be complex and unpredictable in nature. Such deteriorations may be located beneath the surface of the concrete at high elevations. This emphasizes the need for an efficient method of finding such defects to be able to assess the severity thereof. Current methods using thermography to find defects require equipment to reach higher elevations. This could become costly and time consuming not to mention the risks involved in having personnel scaffold or abseiling at such heights. Accordingly, by combining the thermal camera needed for thermography and a remotely piloted aerial system (Drone/RPAS), it could be used to alleviate some of the issues mentioned. Images can be translated into a 3D temperature model to aid concrete diagnostics and with further research can relate back to the mechanical properties of the structure but will not be dealt with in this paper. Such diagnostics includes finding delamination, similar to finding delamination on concrete decks, which resides beneath the surface of the concrete before spalling can occur. Delamination can be caused by reinforcement eroding and causing expansion beneath the concrete surface. This could lead to spalling, where concrete pieces start breaking off from the main concrete structure.

Keywords: Concrete, diagnostic, infrared thermography, 3D thermal models.

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