Ultrasonic pulse velocity test

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An ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) test is an in-situ, nondestructive test to check the quality of concrete and natural rocks. In this test, the strength and quality of concrete or rock is assessed by measuring the velocity of an ultrasonic pulse passing through a concrete structure or natural rock formation.

This test is conducted by passing a pulse of ultrasonic through concrete to be tested and measuring the time taken by pulse to get through the structure. Higher velocities indicate good quality and continuity of the material, while slower velocities may indicate concrete with many cracks or voids.

Ultrasonic testing equipment includes a pulse generation circuit, consisting of electronic circuit for generating pulses and a transducer for transforming electronic pulse into mechanical pulse having an oscillation frequency in range of 40 kHz to 50 kHz, and a pulse reception circuit that receives the signal.[1][2]

The transducer, clock, oscillation circuit, and power source are assembled for use. After calibration to a standard sample of material with known properties, the transducers are placed on opposite sides of the material. Pulse velocity is measured by a simple formula:



Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity can be used to:

  • Evaluate the quality and homogeneity of concrete materials
  • Predict the strength of concrete
  • Evaluate dynamic modulus of elasticity of concrete,
  • Estimate the depth of cracks in concrete.
  • Detect internal flaws, cracks, honeycombing, and poor patches.

The test can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of crack repair.[7] Ultrasonic testing is an indicative and other tests such as destructive testing must be conducted to find the structural and mechanical properties of the material.[8][9][10] [11]

Regulation and standards[edit]

A procedure for ultrasonic testing is outlined in ASTM C597 - 09.[7]

In India, ultrasonic testing is conducted according to IS 13311-1992. This test indicates the quality of workmanship and to find the cracks and defects in concrete.[12][13][14][15][16][17]


This test is recommended in some of testing done by the Indian government to certify and check construction of residential buildings.[18][19][20][21][22][23]


  1. ^ "Ultrasonic Pulse Echo for Concrete Testing Using the Pundit PL-200PE Model by Proceq : Quote, RFQ, Price and Buy". AZoM.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  2. ^ Leeb, Rockwell & UCI. "Equotip portable hardness testers". proceq.com.
  4. ^ "Concrete testing by Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) - Iamcivilengineer". 13 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Method". www.engineeringcivil.com.
  6. ^ "What is Ultrasonic Testing of Concrete for Compressive Strength?". 28 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b "ASTM C597 - 09 Standard Test Method for Pulse Velocity Through Concrete". astm.org.
  8. ^ Singh, Gurpreet; Siddique, Rafat (January 2012). "Effect of waste foundry sand (WFS) as partial replacement of sand on the strength, ultrasonic pulse velocity and permeability of concrete". Construction and Building Materials. 26 (1): 416–422. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2011.06.041.
  9. ^ Komlos̆, K.; Popovics, S.; Nürnbergerová, T.; Babál, B.; Popovics, J.S. (January 1996). "Ultrasonic pulse velocity test of concrete properties as specified in various standards". Cement and Concrete Composites. 18 (5): 357–364. doi:10.1016/0958-9465(96)00026-1.
  10. ^ Qasrawi, Hisham Y. (May 2000). "Concrete strength by combined nondestructive methods simply and reliably predicted". Cement and Concrete Research. 30 (5): 739–746. doi:10.1016/S0008-8846(00)00226-X.
  11. ^ Vasconcelos, Graça; Lourenço, Paulo B.; Alves, C. A. Simões; Pamplona, J. (4 April 2019). "Prediction of the mechanical properties of granites by ultrasonic pulse velocity and Schmidt hammer hardness" – via repositorium.sdum.uminho.pt.
  12. ^ ftp://law.resource.org/pub/in/bis/S03/is.13311.1.1992.pdf
  13. ^ Illston, J. M.; Domone, Peter (11 September 2002). Construction Materials: Their Nature and Behaviour, Third Edition. CRC Press. ISBN 9780203478981 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ Aguado, A.; Gettu, R.; Shah, S. (10 November 1994). Concrete Technology: New Trends, Industrial Applications: Proceedings of the International RILEM workshop. CRC Press. ISBN 9780419201502 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Richardson, J. G. (2 September 2003). Supervision of Concrete Construction 2. CRC Press. ISBN 9780203210055 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Tse, Peter W.; Mathew, Joseph; Wong, King; Lam, Rocky; Ko, C. N. (9 December 2014). Engineering Asset Management - Systems, Professional Practices and Certification: Proceedings of the 8th World Congress on Engineering Asset Management (WCEAM 2013) & the 3rd International Conference on Utility Management & Safety (ICUMAS). Springer. ISBN 9783319095073 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Neville (4 April 1963). Properties Of Concrete, 4/E. Pearson Education. ISBN 9788177585872 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ "Technical Advisory Committee comes to rescue of residents who feared they might lose their homes to redevelopment". DNA India. 22 January 2015.
  19. ^ Ahmedabad Mirror (Sep 9, 2014). "Shoddy job puts builders in the dock". Ahmedabad Mirror. Retrieved Apr 6, 2019.
  20. ^ "Civic chief wants dilapidated bldgs in island city to be vacated within 7 days - Times of India". The Times of India.
  21. ^ "Civic body to get expert hand for demolition drive in Kolhapur - Times of India". The Times of India.
  22. ^ "'Mandatory soil testing not done before start of work' - Times of India". The Times of India.
  23. ^ http://tbk.vcp.ir/page-Ultrasonic-26407.html