Development of a Thermographic Device for Evaluating Integrity of Steel Bridge Coatings Nondestructively

Period of Performance: 09/25/2015 - 09/25/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Fuchs Consulting Inc.
75 Lawson Road SE suite 204
Leesburg, VA 20175
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


This effort is advancing the development of a nondestructive evaluation (NDE) tool for quantitative assessment of highway bridge coatings, the Infrared Coating Inspection System (IR‐CIS). The IR‐CIS can be used to improve decision‐making regarding over‐coating or recoating of bridges, by better and more fully quantifying the current condition of coatings in ways not possible using only visual assessments. The tool can provide critical data regarding the need for and anticipated benefit of spot‐coating strategies intended to extend the life of coating systems by only recoating critical portions of a bridge. Such spot‐coating strategies can be ineffective if the degree and extent of existing damage is not properly identified, and the IR‐CIS tool can greatly improve this process. The tool can also play a role in quality control testing for field‐applied coatings, detecting early on‐set of corrosion resulting from ineffective surface preparations. This project will refine the IR‐CIS instrument to make a smaller, more efficient design that is easier to setup and use. Collaborative work with State DOTs will result in procedures for implementation. The measurement capabilities of the instrument will be extended by extensively quantifying thermal properties of bridge coatings and adding the ability to measure coating thickness.