FPrimeC Solutions Inc. was commissioned by the client to conduct an inspection and non-destructive evaluation on seven (7) concrete foundations at an oil refinery in Fort McMurray, AB. As the foundations had been in service for over 70 years, the primary goal of the project was to assess the current condition and detect potential concrete anomalies, in regards to serviceability life of the foundations. A secondary focus was to evaluate existing cracks in certain foundations specified by the client. FPrimeC presented a proposal, collaborated with the client's safety team, and executed the fieldwork during equipment shutdowns.
A systematic multi-technology test protocol was designed and executed for the assessment of the concrete foundations. Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) was performed to assess the overall quality, uniformity and homogeneity of concrete as well as structural integrity in the test areas. UPV was used to verify the pulse velocity in concrete and assess concrete quality and uniformity at select areas. Rebound Hammer test was used to assess uniformity and surface hardness of the concrete. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) was used to identify the location, and distribution of steel bars.
A standard crack width gauge was used to determine the crack width at multiple test stations along the length of each crack and construction joint. A special configuration of UPV method was used for estimating the depth of surface cracks in the foundations. For this application, indirect configuration is used. Both transmitter and receiver transducers were place over the surface of the concrete foundations (vertical faces). Each of the two transducers (transmitter and receiver) were placed on one side of the crack with identical distance from the crack line. Additionally, a Fluke 810 vibration tester was used to evaluate the ambient vibration (due to the top engines and machineries’ operation) around the cracks and construction joints.