Determination, by using GPR, of the volumetric water content in structures, substructures, foundations, and soil

Fabio Tosti, Evert Slob

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Volumetric water content evaluation in structures, substructures, soils, and subsurface in general is a crucial issue in a wide range of applications. The main weaknesses of subsurface moisture sensing techniques are usually related both to the lack of cost-effectiveness of measurements, and to unsuitable support scales with respect to the extension of the surface to be investigated. In this regard, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is an increasingly used non-destructive tool specifically suited for characterization and imaging. Several GPR techniques have been developed for different application purposes. Moisture evaluation in concrete is important for diagnosing structures at early stages of deterioration, as water contributes to the transfer of degrading and corrosive agents e.g., chloride. Traditionally, research efforts have been focused on the processing of GPR signal in time domain, although more recent studies are being increasingly addressed towards frequency domain analysis, providing additional information on moisture content in concrete. Concerning the evaluation of subsurface soil water content, different models ranging from empirical to theoretical are used for converting permittivity values into moisture. In this regard, two main GPR approaches are commonly employed for permittivity evaluation in time-domain measurements, namely, the ground wave method and the reflection method. Furthermore, the use of borehole transmission measurements, traditional off-ground methods, and of an inverse modelling approach allowing for a full waveform inversion of radar signals have been developed in the past decade. More recently, a self-consistent approach based on the Rayleigh scattering theory has also allowed the direct evaluation of moisture content from frequency spectra analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCivil Engineering Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar
EditorsA. Benedetto , L. Pajewski
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-04812-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameSpringer Transactions in Civil and Environmental Engineering


  • Soil Water Content
  • Volumetric Water Content
  • Direct Wave
  • Reflection Method
  • Effective Medium Approximation


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