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Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity

Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) is an ultrasonic testing technique that involves the measurement and assessment of transit time of reflected pulse stress waves through a material.

Detected changes in arrival time, amplitude, and the characteristics of the propagated mechanical waves can indicate changes in the internal makeup of the material. In concrete, internal conditions, such as the presence of honeycombing, internal cracking, and paste voids affect the ability of a pulsed ultrasonic wave to propagate. While the presence of anomalies may slightly affect the transit time, and thus the corresponding computed pulse velocity, of more significance is the effect on the signal strength and wave characteristics. Transient waves moving through anomalies will be attenuated, resulting in less total signal energy being received through the member thickness.

The UPV test method is commonly used to detect internal flaws such as honeycombing, voids, and delaminations in concrete, stone, shotcrete, and masonry structures. UPV testing is also widely used to determine the overall quality of concrete and cementitious materials based on analysis of the signal characterization and propagation velocities of the compressional waves.

YAES professionals have extensive experience using the UPV test method and have conducted all manner of investigations to solve construction related problems involving conventionally reinforced concrete, prestressed and post-tensioned concrete structures, wood structures, and many other applications related to plastic and composite materials.


  • System portability
  • Instantaneous results
  • Reliable and repeatable results when performed by experienced operators.
  • Often used as a material quality control test method