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The integration of non-destructive test methods into the South African Durability Index Approach

Durability has been found to be essential for ensuring good quality, safe, and cost effective structures.

Currently in South Africa, the Durability Index (DI) approach is well accepted, and shown to yield good representative results in comparison with other durability tests, for the same transport properties. However, this method requires the extraction of cores from either mock-up panels or the real structure itself, both of which are time consuming to perform and may increase the rate of corrosion at these test locations. Coring from mock-up panels does not damage the structure, but it assumes the concrete is identical for the actual structure and the mock-up panel, which may often not be the case. The Oxygen Permeability Index (OPI), Water sorptivity (Sorp), and Chloride Conductivity (CC) tests can then be performed on the cores, however, these tests are both costly and time consuming to perform.

Non-destructive test (NDT) methods are becoming well accepted as means for testing durability-related properties of RC structures. The advantage of NDT testing is that the structure is not harmed, and the test can be rapidly performed.Therefore, the focus of this research is to investigate possible means for the integration of Non-Destructive Test (NDT) methods into the South African Durability Index (DI) approach. The aim is to utilise the efficient testing characteristics of NDT methods, and the accepted DI requirements used to specify durability in South Africa.