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The Magic of MASPAR ~ Literally at Your Fingertips Part I

Written by: Nikki Alvin-Smith

There’s good reason that the use of MASPAR {multi-array surface penetrating analysis radar} has usurped the competition when it comes to quick mobilization in the assessment of underlying conditions in multiple asphalt and reinforcement layers of concrete. Coast to coast inspections and evaluations of bridge decks, road scans, multi-story parking structures and the like can be completed efficiently with the non-invasive and thus minimally disruptive MASPAR system. EChem Consultants is a stalwart supporter and provider of MASPAR technology and has implemented its use across several projects resulting in some impressive awards.

EChem’s ownership of multiple MASPAR units sincerely benefits their clientele as it offers an adjunct to their existing services. But what is MASPAR and how does it work? You do not require a degree in rocket science to understand its benefits. Even though the technical aspects of the data collected, especially its processing and predictive modeling and service life analysis, may require some passionate and wizard like understanding in the universe of engineering.

Layman’s Brief

There are many types and ranges of image and data acquisition in commercial use today. Not surprisingly military application and development of these systems was often the forerunner of their industry presence. The idea of 3D data collection is not news to those familiar with basic technology options. The MASPAR utilizes an elevated ‘microwave’ or radar system, not to be confused with other types of data/image analysis such as thermography, light and laser detection. All these categories have one thing in common, they are non-disruptive forms of data collection. 

Talking of 3D data collection in regard to rocket science and innovators in general, (were we?), Elon Musk’s Tesla future with expensive Lidar {Light Detection And Ranging that emerged in the 1950’s} may currently be ‘up in the air’ due to its high cost, but Ladar {Laser Detection and Ranging adopted by the military} will continue to be front and center in the defense community. MASPAR utilizes ground-penetrating radar. The discovery of Radar {Radio Wave Detection and Ranging, electromagnetic waves first detected by physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1886,} is hardly news to anyone. While the British patent for “Radar System for Air Defense” was granted to Robert Watson-Watt and is heralded as a significant strategic advantage that positively affected the outcome of WWII for the country and its Allies, the development of 3D data collection in the past several years has taken the use of radar to a whole new level.

Today, variant radar applications are financially accessible to a host of industry visionaries who seek to improve our understanding of the world as we know it. Thus, we can investigate beyond what we know and can see. Whether it is the exciting discovery of lost and forgotten dynasties on land or under sea, or the more mundane but essential business of testing infrastructure and structures for earthquake damage or age-related degradation, all are scientific advantages worth exploration. The magic of MASPAR falls within the latter ‘indispensable’ category in case you were wondering.

So why is MASPAR something you should know about?

The MASPAR advantage offers ‘D’ benefits

• D for Data Collection with Accuracy & Speed

• D for Disruption Mitigation

• D for Dollars Saved

As every scientist will confirm, when it comes to data collection it is not just quantity that is important, but also quality. The MASPAR antenna array layout captures highly detailed 3D underground tomography. With measurements taken an impressive every 1 cm. from each sensor and dual polarization to increase not just the depth of penetration of the imaging but also the quality of the imaging, MASPAR takes the guess work out of where to look. Additionally, MASPAR can operate across variable depths.

Of course interpretation of the results must be concisely and accurately managed. The EChem team has the proven experience and acumen to ensure that underlying conditions are authentically assessed.

It is wise to advocate systems that offer less mess hence less stress to the industries that utilize them. The non-invasive magic of MASPAR means less traffic disruption plus its speed of data collection mitigates the time needed for road/access closures. As everyone knows, time equals money. The MASPAR speedy data collection process also alleviates the associated expenses of large investigative team dispatch and management. Even more importantly, the interpretation and predictive analysis of the acquired accurate data can significantly reduce repair and rehabilitation costs of concrete decks.

Let’s Delve Deeper – > 20” Deeper To Be More Specific

Aficionados of material science will appreciate the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the MASPAR system. Veteran ‘concrete guru’, EChem’s Chief Technical Director, Paul Noyce, is renowned across the globe for his visionary application of intelligent engineering mapping techniques and analytic talents.

The opportunity to leverage the benefits of MASPAR for the wide range of EChem clientele, was clearly one not to be missed. Diligent research included comparison between the microwave testing applications of GSSI Bridge Scan and Air Coupled GPR, and analytical ranking of SHRP2 NDT Technologies. The quality of the data the MASPAR machine provided, together with its functional ease of use, were carefully evaluated by Noyce and his team before EChem Consultants embarked upon acquisition of MASPAR units. The in-depth approach for which Noyce is well-respected, includes several aspects that set EChem apart from their competition. For example, for the informed ‘material science’ folks interested in bridge deck assessment: provision of corrosion, moisture and concrete cover maps are included in assessments; critically important alignment measurements from two 2D data sets are performed as part of the final analysis to cross-correlate under EChem Consultants unique Life 52 ®Basic Bridge interface; the MASPAR provides assessment of reinforcing steel spacing, as well as asphalt and concrete thickness. Condition state, corrosion and defective concrete can be detected.

Teaser alert: It is no surprise then to hear that Noyce has taken the MASPAR unit to new heights, but more on that in Part II of this series next month “But, The World Isn’t Flat.”

Here’s an overview of the range and use of the Italian built MASPAR unit.

For the true nerds of material science , here’s some background tech data you’ll love perusing in your downtime…

There’s Always Alternative Options ~ But Do They Make Sense?

Testing concrete slabs is not a one size fits all type of business. The myriad of factors that convene to effect and affect the integrity and longevity of any concrete material must be professionally evaluated and clearly defined so unnecessary renovations are avoided but the integrity of infrastructures and structures can be cost effectively repaired and revitalized. GPR can be completed by manned and unmanned vehicles rather than the walking pace MASPAR, and large teams of personnel can be employed to address the need to quantify defects that require maintenance, but the EChem advantage is not one to be overlooked. EChem Consultants offer a wealth of proven expertise that includes many prestigious projects worldwide, and the talent to validate findings as well as provide rapid data collection harnessing the magic of MASPAR. Their innate ability to adeptly pivot across different budget/need levels with flexible, approachable bandwidths of service plans is an attractive ‘magic wand’ that the noteworthy experts within the EChem Consultants company are able to wave in collaboration with partners at every level within the industry framework or directly with owner(s) of the pertinent structure.

Talking of magic wands, don’t forget to tune in next month to find out what EChem’s innovative engineer Paul Noyce has accomplished to customize the MASPAR unit in our article, “But The World Isn’t Flat.”Spoiler alert: It’s a different look at tunnel vision!

About Echem Consultants:

Echem Consultants LLC is a material science consultancy whose primary focus is understanding material durability of the built environment. Through our Life 52® assessment approach [Laboratory, Inspection, Field Services, Engineered Design], we assist Architects, Engineers, and structure owners with long-term durability planning and predictive service life modeling for critical infrastructure 52 weeks a year. 

An additional advantage to employment of EChem Consultants is its ownership status as a certified women-owned business (WBE) and disadvantaged business (DBE) enterprise, thus fulfilling minority requirements for local, state, and federal contracts which have M/WBE or DBE set asides. Echem provides niche expertise in complex problem solving for critical infrastructure, landmark buildings, and new construction.

For more information, please contact Echem’s marketing department at 845-215-4370.

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
British/American Nikki Alvin-Smithi s a seasoned Content Writer with a background in international commerce. Her works have been published worldwide across many genres including construction, investment, international freight forwarding, real estate, travel, the equestrian and pet industry and number in the thousands. Through her media enterprise company Horse in a Kilt Media Inc. Nikki collaborates with a variety of clientele to address their writing and PR needs, from Mom and Pop operators to Fortune 500 companies, from B-list movie/TV celebrities to Olympic athletes. Services include production of creative assets such as ghostwritten books, feature articles, blogs, vlogs, column writing, scriptwriting, speechwriting to copy for Executive Summaries, press releases, event coverage, brand building and marketing strategy.Additionally Nikki Alvin-Smith is an international level Grand Prix dressage competitor, coach and worldwide clinician. Together with her husband Paul, also a Grand Prix dressage rider, she lives in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York and operates an organic hay farm and dressage yard.

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