Identification of Stop Criteria for Large-Scale Laboratory Slab Tests Using Digital Image Correlation and Acoustic Emission

Christian Overgaard Christensen*, Fengqiao Zhang, Gabriela Zarate Garnica, Eva Olivia Leontien Lantsoght, Per Goltermann, Jacob Wittrup Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Advanced monitoring methods are required to identify stop criteria in proof-load tests. In this study, the combined methodology of two-dimensional digital image correlation and acoustic emission is investigated for its applicability for future implementation in field tests. The two monitoring systems are deemed to provide valuable insight with external measurements from digital image correlation and internal measurements from acoustic emission. Two overturned T-section reinforced concrete slabs (0.37 × 1.7 × 8.4 m) tested under laboratory conditions are used for the assessment. The first slab test served as a preliminary test to enable sensor placement and creation of a relevant loading protocol. The main scientific results lead to a proposal for a test procedure using the combined methodology based on results, observations, and experiences from an individual stop criteria assessment for the two methods. The results include full-field plots, an investigation of the time of crack detection and monitoring of crack widths with digital image correlation, and a qualitative assessment of activity vs. load followed by a quantitative evaluation of calm ratios using acoustic emission. The individual results show that both digital image correlation and acoustic emission can identify damage occurrence earlier than other secondary methods. At crack detection (415 kN), crack widths were measured at widths between 0.078 mm to 0.125 mm and can be monitored until reaching the stop criterion at 463 kN (Eurocode SLS threshold of wmax = 0.2 mm). The acoustic emission results were limited by the pre-defined loading protocol and thus, only indicated that damage occurred sometime between 300 kN and 500 kN (pre-defined load levels). Therefore, the proposal for test procedure involves a methodology, where the loading protocol may be updated during testing based on monitoring results and thus provide even more valuable data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Acoustic emission
  • Concrete slab bridges
  • Crack evaluation
  • Digital image correlation
  • Load cycles
  • Load history
  • Proof-loading
  • Repeated loading
  • Stop criteria


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