INSPIRE Archived Webinars


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Webinar Date

13 Sep 2022, 11:00 am


This presentation will discuss the reliability of inspection technologies used for the condition assessment of highway bridges. Data from condition assessments are critical to asset management and decision-making. The methodologies used to assess condition are usually subjective methods, such as visual inspections, that can vary as a result of human factors and differences in training and interpretation of inspection procedures. Nondestructive evaluation technologies (NDE) are implemented on a more limited basis and rely on indirect measurements to infer the presence of damage, and these assessments are affected by environmental factors, materials variability, and limitations in the interpretation of the resulting data. Field studies of inspection quality for element-level (CSs) and component-level (CRs) results will be discussed that illustrate the variability in data from routine inspections of highway bridges. Methods implemented in recent years to improve the quality of these inspections will be discussed. Variability in several common NDE techniques will also be discussed, such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Infrared Thermography (IRT), and Ultrasonic Testing (UT), based on results from field studies and performance tests. The impact of the reliability of these technologies of the future of bridge inspection, including risk-based inspection decision-making, will be addressed as a conclusion to the presentation.


Dr. Glenn Washer is a Professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Before joining the University, Dr. Washer was with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the Turner Fairbank Research Center (TFHRC) where he served as the director of the FHWA Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) program. His research interests are focused on condition assessment technology for civil infrastructure. This includes developing nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technologies for damage detection, reliability of inspection technologies, and risk-based inspection. Dr. Washer was the PI for NCHRP 12-82, Developing Reliability Based Bridge Inspection Practices. The results of this research are included in the most recent revision to the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). Dr. Washer was also the PI on NCHRP 12-104, Improving the Quality of Element-Level Bridge Inspection Data. The results of this research include the new AASHTO Manual for Bridge Element Inspection (MBEI) approved in 2018 and currently used for element-level bridge inspection throughout the US. Research in NDE technologies currently includes ultrasonic stress measurement, ultrasonic testing for steel bridge fabrication, thermal imaging technologies, and reliability of NDE technologies. He has published over 120 journal and conference papers related to the condition assessment of bridges, and is a Fellow of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). Dr. Washer received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) at the Johns Hopkins University in 2001.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center

Document Type

Video - Presentation

Document Version

Final Version

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