GPR wave dispersion for material characterization

Wai Lok Lai, Kwong Wai Chang, Völker Christoph, Wei Yat Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies the dispersion of GPR wave's phase velocity at different wideband frequencies in plywood and concrete with varying moisture content. This study makes use of two GPR antennas with 2 GHz centre frequency operating in wide angle reflection and refraction (WARR) mode and with computation of spectral analysis of the surface wave (SASW). Computation of phase velocities is based on the acquisition of the cross-power spectrum and phase unwrap of two distorted ground waves at positions closer to and farther away from the transmitting antenna. The velocities of the ground waves are found to experience greater dispersion in low frequency regimes within the effective frequency bandwidths determined and thresholded by time–frequency analysis (TFA) and coherence plotting of the ground waves. This study validates not only the methodology, but also identifies the optimal distance between the first (Rx1) and second (Rx2) receivers as λ/2, which is based on a fixed transmitter (Tx) minus the first receiver (Rx1) distance. It serves as an indication of changeable separation distance when other lower frequency GPR is used because the distances of Tx-Rx1 and Rx1-Rx2 are wavelength dependent and thus also frequency dependent. Effects of moisture contents and chloride contamination in concrete were also characterized according to the dispersion plots that wave traelling in lower frequencies in GPR wave is much decelerated than that in higher frequencies. This research also contributes to the building of the “GPR-WARR machine” suggested in Annan and Jackson (2017) [1], within which the effects of wave dispersion on phase velocity can be inversely modelled to characterize variations in the material properties of infrastructure as a means of detecting surface damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122597
Number of pages122597
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2021


  • Ground penetrating radar
  • Wide angle reflection and refraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Signal Processing


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