Surface flatness and distortion inspection of precast concrete elements using laser scanning technology

Qian Wang, Minkoo Kim, Hoon Sohn, Jack C.P. Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Precast concrete elements are widely used in the construction of buildings and civil infrastructures as they provide higher construction quality and requires less construction time. However, any abnormalities in precast concrete surfaces such as non-flatness or distortion, can influence the erection of the elements as well as the functional performance of the connections between elements. Thus, it is important to undertake surface flatness and distortion inspection (SFDI) on precast concrete elements before their delivery to the construction sites. The traditional methods of SFDI which are conducted manually or by contact-type devices are, however, time-consuming, labor-intensive and error-prone. To tackle these problems, this study proposes techniques for SFDI of precast concrete elements using laser scanning technology. The proposed techniques estimate the FF number to evaluate the surface flatness, and estimate three different measurements, warping, bowing, and differential elevation between adjacent elements, to evaluate the surface distortion. The proposed techniques were validated by experiments on four small scale test specimens manufactured by a 3D printer. The measured surface flatness and distortion from the laser scanned data were compared to the actual ones, which were obtained from the designed surface geometries of the specimens. The validation experiments show that the proposed techniques can evaluate the surface flatness and distortion effectively and accurately. Furthermore, scanning experiments on two actual precast concrete bridge deck panels were conducted and the proposed techniques were successfully applied to the scanned data of the panels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-623
Number of pages23
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bridge deck panels
  • Distortion inspection
  • Flatness inspection
  • Laser scanning
  • Precast concrete elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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