Post-earthquake damage inspection of wood-frame buildings by a polarimetric GB-SAR system

Hai Liu, Christian Koyama, Jinfeng Zhu, Qinghuo Liu, Motoyuki Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Structural damage inspection after an earthquake is essential for safety assessment of the affected wood-frame buildings and for making knowledgeable decision regarding their repair, renovation, or replacement. We present a polarimetric radar system for sensing the concealed wood-frames damaged by earthquakes. This system employs an antenna array consisting of four linearly polarized Vivaldi antennas recording full-polarimetric radar echoes in an ultra-wideband ranging from 1 to 20 GHz. The detailed design of the system and the signal processing algorithms for high-resolution 3D imaging are introduced. We conducted a number of surveys on damaged wooden wall specimens in laboratory. The experiment results indicate that the high-frequency radar waves can penetrate the wooden walls. Deformations of wooden structures (about 2 cm displacement) inside the wall, as well as the concealed small metal nails (about 3 mm in diameter and less than 2 cm in length) and bolts can be clearly imaged. The shape and orientation of the wooden members have shown a great sensitivity to the radar polarization. It is concluded that radar polarimetry can provide much richer information on the condition of concealed building structures than the conventional single-polarization subsurface penetrating radar.

Original languageEnglish
Article number935
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov


  • Earthquake damage
  • Ground-based synthetic aperture radar (GB-SAR)
  • Non-destructive testing (NDT)
  • Radar polarimetry
  • Wood-frame building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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