Students of mechanical engineering and environmental IT from the Berlin University of Applied Sciences visited BAM this week. In BAM's Non-Destructive Damage Assessment and Environmental Measurement Methods division, they learned about various physical concrete testing methods.
Dr. Ernst Niederleithinger explained ultrasonic testing methods used to examine concrete. Students also had the opportunity to try out one of the testing devices for themselves, one that was developed by BAM in cooperation with an industry partner and is now available on the commercial market. It enables component thicknesses to be measured and structures to be located. The students also got to see one of BAM's other developments – an automated ultrasonic measurement device that enables tests to be conducted more quickly, more precisely and more reproducibly than with conventional devices.
Physicist Gerd Wilsch then demonstrated how he can use laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy to measure how an active hydrophobising agent is distributed throughout a sample. One way to inhibit capillary water absorption in concrete is to impregnate the surfaces with organosilicon compounds. This modifies the concrete structure in such a way that it becomes waterproof, thereby preventing contaminants from further penetrating the structure. This is a process known as hydrophobisation.