Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Online damage detection is of great interest in the field of concrete structures and, more generally, within the construction industry. Current economic requirements impose the reduction of the operating costs related to such inspection while the security and the reliability of structures must constantly be improved. In this paper, nondestructive testing is applied using piezoelectric transducers embedded in concrete structures. These transducers are especially adapted for online ultrasonic monitoring, due to their low cost, small size, and broad frequency band. These recent transducers are called smart aggregates. The technique of health monitoring developed in this study is based on a ultrasonic pulse velocity test with an embedded ultrasonic emitter-receiver pair (pitch-catch). The damage indicator focuses on the early wave arrival. The Belgian company MS3 takes an interest in evaluating the quality of the concrete around the anchorage system of highway security barriers after important shocks. The failure mechanism can be viewed as a combination of a bending and the failure of the anchorages. Accordingly, the monitoring technique has been applied both on a three-points bending test and several pull-out tests. The results indicate a very high sensitivity of the method, which is able to detect the crack initiation phase and follow the crack propagation over the entire duration of the test.