Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering


Inspection;Point Cloud;Spalling;Terrestrial Laser Scanning


Rajeev Ruparathna


Niel Van Engelen



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Asset management of bridge infrastructure will become increasingly important in the coming years, especially since 16% of bridges in Canada will reach their expected life span of 50 years by 2030. There is a need to improve current subjective visual inspections of bridges and implement solutions that are more efficient and objective. Non-contact testing (NCT) technologies, such as terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) can be used to improve inspective efficiency and objectivity due to its high measurement accuracy, measurement speed, and interoperability with other technologies. By gathering point cloud data, TLS acts as a visual inspection tool to scan surface defects of structures, such as spalling, to better understand its overall condition. However, much of the research conducted regarding TLS only accounts for its implementation rather than improving the process itself. Due to this, there are no general guidelines or standards for the use of TLS in visual inspection practices. Consequently, the overall objective of this thesis is to investigate the impact of scan parameters and improve the TLS process for measuring spalling on cylindrical concrete bridge piers. Based on the results of this research, guidelines for implementing TLS to analyse concrete spalling were determined. These guidelines will be able to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of visual inspections and could act as a catalyst for the adoption of TLS as a visual inspection tool. It was determined that the efficiency of TLS procedures can be improved by decreasing the scan resolution (to a point) which resulted in faster scan times and higher accuracy. Decreasing the scan resolution will further reduce scan times but result in larger errors. Furthermore, general guidelines for TLS implementation in the scanning of typical 3-lane highway bridges in Ontario were developed.

Available for download on Thursday, September 26, 2024