Each year, AASHTO Research Advisory Committee (RAC) member states submit research projects to the Sweet Sixteen High Value Research competition to showcase and share innovative research being done across the country. Of the thirty submissions from Region 2 states, FDOT’s submission, Comparative Testing of Radiographic Testing, Ultrasonic Testing and Phase Array Advanced Ultrasonic Testing Non Destructive Testing, received the highest number of votes. As a Sweet Sixteen awardee, this project will be recognized and presented to the larger transportation community at the RAC Summer Meeting, the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, and the AASHTO Annual Meeting.
In this research project, managed by Steve Duke of the State Materials Office, University of South Florida researchers compared different methods of weld testing. Radiographic testing (RT) is a conventional method that has been used for many years but must be performed by specialized operators in an exclusion zone due to the use of a radiation source. The researchers compared RT to a newer method of testing, phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT), which they found to be just as effective at determining weld integrity but safer and less costly.
FDOT will be including PAUT in upcoming specification and manual changes. In addition, PAUT will be used in weld testing for several bridges being constructed as part of the Ultimate I-4 project. Savings for this project alone are estimated between $1-2 million.
Congratulations to all involved. For more information on PAUT or any other FDOT research, please visit the Research Center website.