GPR goes underground: Pipe Penetrating Radar



Pipe Penetrating Radar (PPR) is the underground in-pipe application of ground penetrating radar (GPR) either robotically or by manned entry to reveal wall thickness, delamination, voids, and other conditions that enable more precise determination of pipeline integrity and verifications for trenchless technology rehabilitation. PPR, when applied to pipe-bursting applications, can be used to detect metallic repair clamps and sleeves, reinforcing in concrete, thrust restraint and anchor blocks, and exterior sliplined host pipe casings. PPR also has the capabilities to confirm the presence of grouting applications between rehabilitation liners and outside pipe walls for ground stabilization and void elimination. PPR clearly identifies lateral locations behind rigid liners for reinstatement and reconnection. 

This technology significantly impacts subsurface infrastructure condition based asset management by providing previously unattainable measurable conditions. This paper will summarize the PPR technology development, current methodology, identifying assessment applications, and illustrate how PPR presents critical structural information surrounding buried non-ferrous pipes.

1. Introduction
Deterioration of underground pipe infrastructure is a well documented fact (ASCE, 2009). Even though, they are the most basic resources sustaining urban life this underground network has largely been ignored, mostly due to the fact that it is invisible to the general public (Koo & Ariaratnam, 2006). The majority of the current underground pipe infrastructure was built over 50 years ago and is close to the end of its design life (ASCE, 2009). Recently the deterioration of this system has become a considerable financial burden to utility owners. Rehabilitation of the wastewater system requires extensive capital investments and the allocation of scarce resources must be prioritized. This leads decision makers to implement proactive preventative maintenance procedures. Proactive asset management allows utility owners to plan and schedule the inspection and rehabilitation of critical utilities prior to the occurrence of emergency scenarios (Koo & Ariaratnam, 2006). One of the most promising new quantitative pipe inspection and asset management methods is the in-pipe application of ground penetrating radar (GPR).

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