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Photos of Engineer Dive Inspector, Robert Provencher using the resistance drill at a recent site inspection in Virginia.

Decay Detection

a Non-destructive Technique
to Marine Timber Inspections

Part of ensuring the safety and integrity of marine structures involves the inspection of timber piles and other components. Decay caused by marine borers and other environmental factors often goes unnoticed due to its hidden nature, occurring from the inside out. The timber’s external appearance may remain intact, but the real damage lurks within, compromising its strength and posing potential hazards for failure.

Non-Destructive Technique

To help detect internal voids and advanced decay without causing further damage to the timber, we use nondestructive tools like a resistance drill, or “resistograph”. By slowly advancing a long thin drill bit into the timber, our engineers can observe the resistance readings on the graph in real time. Regions of low or no resistance on the chart signify potential areas of hidden wood decay or marine borer damage. This critical information helps our team identify weak spots and areas of concern within the wooden pile, even if they are not visible from the outside.