Integrity Testing of Cast In Situ Concrete Piles Based on an Impulse Response Function Method Using Sine-Sweep Excitation by a Shaker

  • Haitao ZhengEmail author
  • Jens-Peter Ertel
  • Miltiadis Kourmpetis
  • Jamil Kanfoud
  • Ernst Niederleithinger
  • Tat-Hean GanEmail author


In this study, an Impulse Response Function analysis of pile response to sine-sweep excitation by a low cost, portable shaker was used to identify defects in piles. In straightforward impact-echo methods, echoes from the pile toe and defects are visible in the time domain measurements. However, these echoes are not present in the time domain records of piles subjected to sine-sweep excitations, due to interactions between the input and output signals. For this reason, the impulse response function in the time domain has been calculated and is able to identify the echoes from pile impedance changes. The proposed methodology has been evaluated both numerically and experimentally. A one-dimensional pile-soil interaction system was developed, and a finite difference method used to calculate the pile response to sine-sweep excitation. The numerical simulations indicate that impulse response measurements with a synthesized logarithmic, sine-sweep excitation could be an effective tool for detecting defects in piles. The methodology was further tested with field trials on 6 cast in situ concrete test piles including 1 intact pile and 5 defective piles subjected to sine-sweep excitations by a shaker. In 5 of the 6 cases the echoes from the pile toe could be identified in the deconvoluted waveforms—the impulse response functions. Damage detection is more difficult and dependent on the selection of the optimal regularization parameter. Further research and optimization of the deconvolution process is needed to evaluate the effectiveness compared to standard pile integrity testing methods.


Nondestructive evaluation Pile integrity Shaker Sine sweep excitation Defect detection Impulse response function 



This research has received funding from the European Commission through the FP7 Programme (FP7-SME-2013-2) under the Grant Agreement No. 605676, as part of a collaborative project “PileInspect”. See project website: for more information. “PileInspect” is a collaboration between the following organisations: HANDT—Hungarian Association for Non-destructive Testing (Hungary), DFI—Deep Foundations Institute—Europe (Netherlands), AEND—Asociación Española de Ensayos No Destructivos (Spain), Piletest Sp. z o.o. (Poland), GSP Mannheim (Germany), Bouwservice Management Nederland B. V. (Netherlands), Per Aarsleff Limited (UK), Cranfield University (UK), BAM—Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Germany), Brunel University London (UK).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brunel University LondonUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.TWI LtdCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)BerlinGermany

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