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Low cost time domain reflectometry system for bridge scour detection and monitoring
An apparatus for detecting and monitoring scouring around a structural mer uses time-domain reflectometry (TDR) to measure the level of sediment around a submerged portion of the structural member such as a bridge pier, dock, utility crossing, or similar structure. The apparatus includes a time domain reflectometer which transmits a series of electrical pulses, a sensor which is connected with said time-domain reflectometer, and a signal analyzer which receives and interprets the portion of the electrical pulses reflected back to the source from an interface, such as water/air or water/gravel, to calculate the position of the interface along the sensor. Knowledge of the position of the interfaces before and after a scouring event and of the dielectric constant of the surrounding media allows the user to detect and monitor the level of erosion caused by scouring.