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Non-Destructive Testing of Concrete and Civil Engineering Structures

British Standard defined non-destructive testing (NDT) as a test that does not impair the intended performance of the element or member under investigation1. NDT has been used widely in industrial sectors such as petroleum, petrochemical, ship construction, aircraft, railway, power station, gas pipeline etc. Materials used in these industries are mostly made from steel and aluminium which involved processes such as welding, casting, forging or machining during construction. The quality of the product was checked and evaluated by NDT methods. Similarly, in-service inspections are also performed by this method to detect so-called in-service defects such as corrosion or fatigue cracks.

The use of NDT in inspecting concrete is not as common as in the metallic construction. This may be due to lack of demand or no specific requirement by code or standard from the related sectors as compared to metallic construction. However, research and development activities in various NDT methods indicate that NDT has a great potential to be applied on concrete structures. Most materials in buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, etc. are made of concrete. This construction requires concrete of high quality in terms of strength and durability. NDT has the ability to determine the strength and durability of critical construction without damaging them and the test can be carried out on-site.
  
Lately, a number of accidents that involved lost of life and property due to lack of control of concrete quality in several constructions have been widely reported (Table I). These include, sudden collapse of the floor of a building during construction, the collapse of a jetty in Penang, hotel in Singapore and Thailand and condominium collapse in Ulu Klang.

Following the collapse of the New World Hotel in Singapore a few years back the Singaporean government has imposed an act to ensure that all buildings of more than 2 floors must be inspected for their quality at an interval of every 5 years. Similarly it was reported in the media that the Malaysian government intended to amend the Act 'Jalan, Parit dan Bangunan 1974' as a follow up of the Highland Tower tragedy. Under this new act all buildings must be checked for their safety and quality before certificate of fitness can be issued. Furthermore the act requires that after every 10 years all high-rise buildings of more than 5 floors must be inspected for their safety before the renewal of certificate can be made. (Utusan Malaysia April 16, 1994).
  
There are several NDT methods applicable to concrete structures. Table lists the suitable NDT methods for checking specific properties of concrete quality. The importance of checking certain properties according to the type of structures is listed. Table indicates that NDT methods applicable for concrete inspection include ultrasonic, photography (visual), thermography, acoustic emission, radiography, magnetic and half-cell potential method. From this table, it is clear that ultrasonic method has a superior capability in the sense that it is capable of providing more information on concrete parameters as compared with other methods.

Newspaper

Title

Notes

Berita Harian, Korat, 14/8/93

Hotel Runtuh, 33 maut

Hotel Royal Plaza, Thailand.

Utusan Malaysia, 20/10/93

Bangunan separuh siap runtuh, 5 pekerja terbunuh

Kolej Swasta, Damansara.

Utusan Malaysia, 26/11/93

Peniaga di KL Plaza bimbang

Bangunan retak

Utusan Malaysia, Manila, 2/12/93

Empat mati bumbung sedang di bina runtuh

Lorong penghubung dua bangunan pejabat.

Utusan Malaysia, 6/12/93

Bangunan sedang dibina runtuh: Seorang terbunuh

Deretan 10 unit bangunan kilang dua tingkat di Puchong

Berita Minggu, 12/12/93

Pangsapuri 12 tingkat runtuh 1 maut, 53 terperangkap.

Highland Tower di Hulu Klang.

Mingguan Malaysia, 16/1/94

Sekolah dalam pembinaan di Klang runtuh

Bangunan 3 tingkat.

UM, 28/3/94

Kejadian pangsapuri runtuh di Pine Resort teruk

Pekan, Pahang

UM, 22/10/94

Jambatan roboh 32 terbunuh

Korea

UM, 21/11/94

Jejantas runtuh dilanggar trak

Korea

UM, 2/12/94

Retak: 80 rumah dalam bahaya

retakan serius, PJ

UM, 30/6/95

100 maut dalam runtuhan pasaraya

Korea

BH -/-/95

Jambatan Runtuh

N. Sembilan

UM, 11/7/95

Bumbung runtuh

Bangunan 4 tkt

UM, 29/7/95

Simen tetupai rumah flat runtuh

Kuantan

UM, 10/10/95

Mangsa runtuhan tidak sempat tenui ibu

bangunan kedai 2 tkt

UM, 6/12/95

Buruh maut dihempap tiang simen

bangunan 3 tkt

UM, 14/12/95

Buruh binaan rakyat Indonesia mati tertimbus

Stor, Shah Alam


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Ketua Pengarah
Agensi Nuklear Malaysia (Nuklear Malaysia)
Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia
(U/p: Dr Rasif Bin Mohd Zain – Pengurus Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan dan Inovasi)
Tel: +603-8911 2000 ext 1501
Email: rasif[at]nm.gov.my