Olson Update Newsletter

Top Story
Olson’s Innovative Sonic Surface Scanner (S3) is being used by American DOTs
With funding from the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) sponsored by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the Iowa DOT acquired and implemented an Olson Instruments Sonic Surface Scanner (S3, aka S-cubed) as part of its Bridge Deck Evaluation Assessment using Nondestructive Testing Methods.

The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate deck deterioration beneath existing concrete overlay, using nontraditional sounding methods. Traditional sounding methods have limitations due to operator variation as well as difficulties involved in differentiating between near-surface delamination and deeper deck deterioration.
The S3 performs automatic Impact Echo and Surface Wave scanning at 6 inch intervals to create high accuracy deck-condition maps for bare concrete, asphalt pavement and overlaid decks. The Iowa DOT tested the S3 alongside other nontraditional methods in an effort to identify promising techniques, taking into consideration a number of factors such as accuracy, ease of use, speed of operation and need for road closures. Conclusions from the Iowa DOT are pending.
Additionally, the Indiana DOT acquired their own S3 approximately a year ago and has used the equipment to test 70+ bridges.
Technical Tips
The greatest advantage offered by the S3 is its ability to test for both top (surface) delamination and bottom delamination on the same test run. Other methods like hammer sounding only address top delamination, while infrared methods require two test runs (top and bottom) to identify delamination at both locations.
Ask the Expert
Question: How does the S3 differ from other available Impact Echo equipment?
Most Impact Echo equipment perform tests on a point-by-point basis. The S3 employs a rolling sensor wheel to scan and test every 6 inches in a straight line. Two wheels are combined at variable crossline spacing intervals to collect two lines of data at the same time. The result is faster data collection. But perhaps the most significant difference lies in the ability of the S3 to test rough road or deck surfaces, which can be challenging with other Impact Echo equipment. The substantial weight of the sensor wheels allows superior contact with the test surface, resulting in great data even on rough (and tined) surfaces.
More Questions?
Please send your nondestructive testing questions to:
We look forward to featuring your questions in our next newsletter!
Olson Instruments’ sister company, Olson Engineering, is excited to announce their new Principal Geophysicist, Ryan E. North. Ryan will be leading the geophysics group at Olson Engineering to support clients in the US and abroad. Ryan has over 20 years of experience supporting military, civil works, engineering, and environmental programs utilizing seismic, gravity, electromagnetic, GPR, and electrical methods.
His background involves utilizing advanced electromagnetic induction instruments to detect, discriminate, and classify unexploded ordnance. He has experience in a range of methods for tunnel detection. He has performed numerous surveys to detect dam seepage, depth to bedrock, and geologic mapping for earthen dams. He has led programs to assess concrete dam spillways utilizing GPR, electromagnetic methods, and photogrammetry for potential voids. He has worked on numerous programs for condition assessments of concrete and asphalt roads, runways, and landing aprons.
Ryan has a PhD in Geophysics and a MS in Geophysical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi. Ryan can be reached at our office at 303-423-1212, or his cellphone at 970-718-0085 or by email at ryan.north@olsonengineering.com.
Upcoming Events
Olson Instruments/Engineering will be participating in the Falling-Weight Deflectomer Users Group Meeting (FWDUG) on September 8-9, 2019 in Alpharetta, Georgia.
If you have information to share with FWDUG,
on the FWDUG website.
Mark your calendar for Olson’s Annual NDE User’s Seminar October 1 – 3, 2019. We hope to see you in the fall!