The collapse of a concrete section of a Montreal bridge in the summer of 2011 sparked a debate about concrete infrastructure repairs, and highlighted the need for more accurate inspection. Now the founders of Giatec Scientific Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario, have responded with a revolutionary new device that may represent one of the greatest breakthroughs in the construction industry in recent years. The have introduced a high-tech sensor that, in a matter of seconds, could have informed Montreal inspectors about the level of risk.
Giatec’s device is a hand-held unit that determines how fast the support steel inside a concrete structure is corroding. Steel corrosion destroys concrete from the inside out. When the rate and degree of corrosion is determined, prioritizing the need for repair or replacement is easier.
The technology was developed at Dr. Burkan Isgor’s research lab at Carleton University, where a decade of research has been converted into a handheld sensor that can tell a structural inspector the degree of steel disintegration inside concrete. Giatec Scientific has incorporated sophisticated software algorithms to analyze the collected data while onsite. They claim this sensor can help those responsible for managing concrete structures of all kinds to improve the detection of needed repairs, while significantly reducing expenditures on unnecessary repairs.