Photon Attenuating Inclusions for Enhanced Radiographic Imaging of Construction Materials


Inspection of bridge project sites utilizing radiographic imaging has emerged in recent years as a viable method to identify potential areas of concern in construction materials, such as high strength steel tendons and/or in the constructed structures. Although radiographic imaging provides improvements over other methods of inspection, it is still limited by the penetrating power of field deployable radiation sources. In addition, radiographic imaging is also limited by safety and logistical concerns associated with the use and transportation of radioactive materials. This invention seeks to improve upon current radiographic imaging methods by incorporating photon-attenuating inclusions in construction materials. This enhances the overall quality and data provided through radiographic imaging of the construction materials.

The photon-attenuating inclusions are proposed to be included in construction materials. These inclusions could be comprised of a number of different materials, such as lead, carbon, stainless steel, or other materials with the desirable radiodensities to provide enhanced quality radiographic images. The inclusions are added to the construction materials in a manner similar to admixtures and additions, which are routinely provided to cement and other construction materials to improve the performance of the materials. An

example application of this invention would be using photon-attenuating inclusions for the detection of voids in grouted post-tensioning steel ducts of concrete bridges. When radiographic imaging is carried out with materials containing the inclusions, the images are of better quality and provide more detail about the overall structural composition, reliability and integrity.


Competitive Advantage

Advantages of using this invention include obtaining enhanced images of internal conditions of materials and material structures used in construction projects. Photon-attenuating inclusions are highly flexible to perform and can be constructed from a number of different materials such as lead or stainless steel. They can be provided in a number of delivery forms, such as powder or

fiber, and can be provided in a controllable range of concentrations. Of greater importance, the method can result in improved quality assurance both during production of the construction materials and after construction is complete to ensure the highest levels of safety possible through earlier fault detection.


Lehigh Tech # 030414-01


Market Need/Opportunity

Construction chemicals are a vital component of the construction industry due to the ability of the chemicals to enhance the properties of construction materials and structures. The global construction chemicals market was estimated at approximately $15 billion in 2012 and is expected to increase to over $22 billion by 2017 with annual growth rates over 8 percent. Developing

countries in the Asia-Pacific region are leading the growth of the market with Europe and North America contributing as well. For the market segments, the concrete admixtures segment is the leading segment with adhesives, flameretardants, and sealants expected to contribute to growth as well.



Lehigh University is looking for a partner for further development and commercialization of this technology through a license.  The inventor is available to collaborate with interested companies.


App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 62/038,620 8/18/2014   8/18/2015
Utility United States 14/829,433 8/18/2015    
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Alan Snyder
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Lehigh University
Stephen Pessiki
Wesley Keller