Detection of cracks in concrete using near-IR fluorescence imaging

Andreas Karpf, Michael Selig, Aktham Alchaar, Magued Iskander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Structural health monitoring of civil infrastructure is a crucial component of assuring the serviceability and integrity of the built environment. A primary material used in the construction of civil infrastructure is concrete, a material that is susceptible to cracking due to a variety of causes, such as shrinkage, creep, overloading, and temperature change. Cracking reduces the durability of concrete structures, as it allows deleterious environmental agents to penetrate the surface, causing such damage as corrosion of steel reinforcement and delamination of the concrete itself. Conventional crack detection techniques are limited in scope due to issues relating to pre-planning, accessibility, and the need for close proximity to the test surface. Contactless optical image monitoring techniques offer the opportunity to overcome these limitations and have the potential to detect cracks at a distance. Concrete has been reported to have a near-infrared (Near-IR) fluorescence line at a wavelength of 1140 nm when excited with red light. This work investigates the use of fluorescence imaging for the detection of cracks in cementitious surfaces using shallow angle incidence excitation red light. Light oriented at a shallow angle does not excite interior surfaces of cracks, which appear as darker features in images of fluorescing concrete. Artificial cracks with widths of 0.2–1.5 mm were readily imaged using a near-IR camera at distances of 0.5 and 1.3 m. An additional concrete sample with a 0.08 mm wide crack was produced using a flexure apparatus and was also imaged. It is worth noting that the 0.08 mm crack was detected despite its width being below the 0.1 mm pixel resolution of the camera, with the aid of digital image enhancement algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18880
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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