Pavement Thickness Evaluation Using 3D Ground Penetrating Radar

  • A cross section of pavement shows how transmitted and received signals of GPR move through hot-mix asphalt, base and subgrade layers of a road.
  • A van with a 3D GPR device attached to the front of the vehicle.
  • 3D Radar Vehicle Image from presentation
Status:  Complete
Report Date:  07/27/2021


MnDOT assesses pavement thickness to select the best methods for maintaining asphalt roadways. Historically, the agency has extracted pavement core samples to determine thickness—an expensive, destructive process that gathers limited data specific to the area and requires immediate repair of the site. Researchers investigated the use of 3D ground-penetrating radar (GPR) as a means to obtain better and larger data sets about pavement thickness. An array of up to 121 transmitting and receiving antenna pairs attached to a van can gather data at traffic speed. Data is then loaded into a new software tool for complex calculations resulting in pavement thickness data. When put to use, this process will save time and money, reducing the need for core extraction as a data gathering process for pavement maintenance.

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