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What is Concrete X-Ray and How Does It Work?

The non-destructive application called concrete x-ray utilizes gamma or x-rays to come up with an image of a concrete’s interior in order to figure out and locate specific embedded objects that could cause harm or distraction in a project; some of the most common of these embedded objects include rebar, conduit, and post tension cables.

In many of the instances, the x-ray source is an isotope, either cobalt-60 or iridium-192, but there also are times when the x-rays are generated using an x-ray tube. A detector is also needed for the process to commence and it usually comes in the form of the old film or the newer digital detector panel.

It is true that there can be several uses for concrete x-ray, but the same objective remains, which in this case is to reveal the contents of a specific concrete target without the need to destroy, harm, or move the same. The most common targets include that of concrete walls and/or suspended slabs, which in turn are going to be subjected to retrofitting or renovation. Majority of the time those slabs or walls form part of a bigger structure.
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The truth is concrete x-ray is a very crucial invention for the entirety of the construction industry because without it, the only way to reveal what’s inside the concrete target is to cut through it. When it comes to cutting through rebar, there’s a possibility that the structure will be weakened, although there are so many times that it can be done due to certain structural tolerance. However, it’s not the same as cutting through post tension cables since there’s a bigger chance of causing a serious issue or irreparable damage to the structure. As a matter of fact, it no longer is deliberately used or performed these days. Likewise, attempting to cut through conduit isn’t recommended as well because cutting or damaging it could lead to costly repairs or even some kind of safety issue.
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These days, concrete x-ray is used and actually preferred by engineers for the simple reason that it is by far the most effective method of finding out if there are hidden objects inside concrete targets and if they possess any threat or hazard before any cutting procedure in a project commences. Even though some people believe that ground penetrating radar is the more practical and safer approach, the fact remains that concrete x-ray is still the one that produces more accurate and clearer images of the interior contents of a concrete target. Moreover, engineers will always choose it over ground penetrating radar because x-rays are naturally easier to work with when it comes to interpreting results. But there also is no denying that concrete x-ray is a bit pricier compared to ground penetrating radar, though the difference wouldn’t be that much in practical field applications.