Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Paul Ziehl


Assessing the current state of infrastructure and implementing strengthening or rehabilitation methods on old or damaged members is important to ensure safety and longevity of structures. Non-destructive testing is an important tool for localizing and characterizing damage in structures, especially structures that are more susceptible to damage because of age or environment. In addition to locating inadequate members, it is essential to have a repair technique in place so that the structure can continue to be used in a safe manner.

This study aims to review the use of acoustic emission for evaluating damage obtained in timber piles subjected to a compressive load. In addition, multiple retrofitting options will be investigated, and a recommended solution for the repair of timber piles will be given based upon the effectiveness of the repair as well as ease of application and practicality for use in the field.

Seven timber piles with varying levels of damage were prepared. Four of these piles were rehabilitated using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) jackets and the damaged region was filled with either resin or grout. Two different FRP jackets were investigated, an FRP bi-directional laminate and an FRP unidirectional prepreg filled with sun curing resin. Compression tests were carried out on each specimen and wideband acoustic emission sensors were attached to the piles to evaluate effectiveness of repair and to assess the degree of damage as the load increased.

Test results show that the most effective method was the use of the FRP laminate filled with grout for piles with large areas of damage, and the FRP laminate filled with resin for smaller areas of damage, however the prepreg also performed well for this application. Furthermore, it was concluded that all reinforcement techniques would be suitable for field application given the relative ease of installation and should be considered as an effective technique for the strengthening and rehabilitation of timber piles.