Impulse Radar

Understanding Impulse Radar

Impulse radar services are adopted in the construction industry as a form of ground penetrating radar (GPR). In its simplest explanation, this is a tool that is used to look under the surface of the ground that is non-destructive and does not require any type of excavation or drilling to take place.

What is GPR?

GPR uses radar pulses to look under a surface and create an image of that subsurface using electromagnetic radiation. Where structures under the surface are detected, the signals, which are within the microwave spectrum, are reflected back. Another description of impulse radar is ultra-wideband radar and it is a geophysical method used in the construction industry.

What is the history of GPR?

A system using continuous-wave was introduced more than a century ago, with radar patented for the first time a few short years later. Following this, in the 1920s, a system was patented that used radar pulses, with the depth of a glacier being measured during the same decade. Many of the advances in this field have come about due to military-related research. Commercial use has come off the back of this.

What is impulse radar used for?

There are a variety of uses for impulse radar, and within the context of GPR or radiodetection it is often used to identity underground utilities and provides an extensive survey. Compared with other types of utility-locating methods, impulse radar can detect objects that are conductive and non-conductive utilities as well. This is an important point, particularly when considering the use of plastic and concrete underground. GPR looks under pavements and structures and can identify utility lines as well as discover pavement thickness, concrete reinforcements and even burial crypts. On top of this, the technology can help pinpoint any issues relating to material properties such as voids and cracks.

What is the advantage of GPR/impulse radar?

Due to the nature of the testing and technology, cost savings can be significant when compared to destructive methods, which include excavations and coring. For project managers and engineers, being able to understand the layout of utility lines underground is a must for any development, alterations or demolitions. This underground utility map can act as a guide on how a building is constructed as well as help ensure that safety is paramount. It is also important to avoid any environmental problems, too.