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In concrete structures, surface cracks are important indicators of structural durability and serviceability. Generally, concrete cracks are visually monitored by inspectors who record crack information such as the existence, location, and width. Manual visual inspection is often considered ineffective in terms of cost, safety, assessment accuracy, and reliability. Digital image processing has been introduced to more accurately obtain crack information from images. A critical challenge is to automatically identify cracks from an image containing actual cracks and crack-like noise patterns (e.g. dark shadows, stains, lumps, and holes), which are often seen in concrete structures. This article presents a methodology for identifying concrete cracks using machine learning. The method helps in determining the existence and location of cracks from surface images. The proposed approach is particularly designed for classifying cracks and noncrack noise patterns that are otherwise difficult to distinguish using existing image processing algorithms. In the training stage of the proposed approach, image binarization is used to extract crack candidate regions; subsequently, classification models are constructed based on speeded-up robust features and convolutional neural network. The obtained crack identification methods are quantitatively and qualitatively compared using new concrete surface images containing cracks and noncracks.
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Structural Health Monitoring
ÓThe Author(s) 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/1475921718768747
Crack and Noncrack Classification
from Concrete Surface Images Using
Machine Learning
Hyunjun Kim, Eunjong Ahn, Myoungsu Shin and Sung-Han Sim
In concrete structures, surface cracks are important indicators of structural durability and serviceability. Generally, con-
crete cracks are visually monitored by inspectors who record crack information such as the existence, location, and
width. Manual visual inspection is often considered ineffective in terms of cost, safety, assessment accuracy, and reliability.
Digital image processing has been introduced to more accurately obtain crack information from images. A critical chal-
lenge is to automatically identify cracks from an image containing actual cracks and crack-like noise patterns (e.g. dark
shadows, stains, lumps, and holes), which are often seen in concrete structures. This article presents a methodology for
identifying concrete cracks using machine learning. The method helps in determining the existence and location of cracks
from surface images. The proposed approach is particularly designed for classifying cracks and noncrack noise patterns
that are otherwise difficult to distinguish using existing image processing algorithms. In the training stage of the proposed
approach, image binarization is used to extract crack candidate regions; subsequently, classification models are con-
structed based on speeded-up robust features and convolutional neural network. The obtained crack identification
methods are quantitatively and qualitatively compared using new concrete surface images containing cracks and
Concrete crack identification, convolutional neural network, digital image processing, machine learning, speeded-up
robust features
Cracks in concrete structures are primary indicators of
possible structural damage and durability.
Most of
the developed countries conduct regular crack assess-
ment of civil engineering structures as part of infra-
structure maintenance. Manual visual inspection is the
most commonly employed method in practice for
obtaining crack information such as the existence, loca-
tion, and width, which can be used to prepare mainte-
nance plans. Although crack information can be
obtained from a manual visual inspection, it is labor-
intensive, costly, time-consuming, and often unreliable
because the results depend on the experience and skill
of the inspector.
To overcome the drawbacks of manual visual inspec-
tion, digital image processing has been introduced as a
promising alternative for crack monitoring. Generally,
the surface images of concrete structures are used for
image processing, from which crack information such
as existence, location, and width is determined. Widely
used image processing algorithms for crack identifica-
tion are based on image binarization, edge detection,
and mathematical morphology. Image binarization,
which helps convert the pixels in a grayscale image to
either black or white, can be used for crack detection,
because dark cracks are generally categorized as black
whereas relatively lighter backgrounds appear white in
the binarized image.
In edge detection, concrete
cracks are detected by localizing the borders of the
crack pixels.
Mathematical morphology is used as
School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan National Institute
of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, Republic of Korea
Corresponding author:
Sung-Han Sim, School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan
National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), 50 UNIST-gil, Ulju-
gun, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea.
an additional process to modify crack shapes and
thereby improve the identification performance.
Jahanshahi et al.
and Koch et al.
summarized the
image processing methods used for the crack detection
of concrete structures.
Although previous studies on the use of image pro-
cessing for crack identification have shown enormous
potential, the underlying common assumption that the
given images contain actual cracks critically limits full
automation. For instance, the surface images of the
entire exterior of a concrete structure captured manu-
ally using a digital camera or with the aid of an
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) taken for structural
maintenance may contain cracks and/or noncracks
such as dark stains, shades, dust, lumps, and holes,
which are difficult to distinguish in the aspect of image
Moreover, image binarization may
categorize a dark stain as black (i.e. a crack), resulting
in a false positive detection. Therefore, the process of
distinguishing cracks from surface images containing
actual cracks and/or crack-like noncracks is essential
for a fully automated crack monitoring.
Machine learning has been recognized as an innova-
tive tool in various civil engineering applications. In
particular, supervised learning, which is a type of
machine learning, can be used to resolve crack recogni-
tion problems in conjunction with computer vision.
This combined approach typically involves identifying
the unique characteristics of cracks and noncracks
from training images, which are used in classification
methods such as support vector machines (SVMs)
and random forests.
The trained classification model
is subsequently applied to new images in which surface
cracks are to be detected. The geometric patterns (e.g.
eccentricity and number of pixels in each pixel group)
and statistical properties of pixel intensities (e.g. mean
and standard deviation) have been selected as features
to distinguish cracks and noncracks and thereby gener-
ate a classification model.
Although user-defined
empirical thresholds are unnecessary in these methods,
crack-like noncracks that share similar geometry and
colors with cracks still remain undistinguishable. For
an effective classification, advanced features need to be
extracted from cracks and noncracks to generate a
robust classification model.
Modern feature detection algorithms used in the
computer vision field can be employed to recognize the
salient features of cracks to enable accurate identifica-
In particular, speeded-up robust features
which is one of the most widely employed
local feature detectors, has a proven performance in
terms of computational time.
SURF can be used to
efficiently select interest points as features from a
similarity-invariant representation; these features can
collectively represent a characteristic descriptor of a
specific object. Although SURF has a strong potential
for automated crack monitoring, its use for crack iden-
tification has not been reported in the literature.
However, deep learning, which is a cascade of multi-
ple layers, has recently been introduced as a powerful
method for crack identification.
Concrete surface
images labeled as either a cracked surface or as an
intact surface have been used for training a classifica-
tion model using convolutional neural network
In the validation stage, the trained classifica-
tion model is used to test new concrete surface images.
Previous studies that employed deep learning have suc-
cessfully detected cracked regions; however, the classifi-
cation in the presence of crack-like noncracks, which
are unavoidable in real-world applications, was not
fully studied. It is important to accurately detect and
filter possible noncrack objects in concrete surface
images. However, this problem has rarely been dis-
cussed in the literature.
This article presents a framework for concrete
crack identification using machine learning. The
framework can help determine the existence and loca-
tion of cracks from concrete surface images. The pro-
posed approach is designed to perform accurately,
particularly when the images contain noncracks that
are difficult to be distinguished from cracks using
existing image processing algorithms. The main con-
tribution of this study can be summarized as follows:
(1) an efficient classification framework based on a
crack candidate region (CCR) is proposed to effec-
tively categorize cracks and noncracks, (2) compara-
tive analysis between SURF-based and CNN-based
methods is conducted to evaluate the classification
performances, and (3) a comprehensive crack identifi-
cation in the presence of crack-like noncracks is con-
ducted for practical applications.
To automatically categorize crack and noncrack
objects from concrete surface images, two types of clas-
sification models are considered in this study: (1)
SURF-based classification and (2) CNN-based classifi-
cation. In general, local features are used in the SURF-
based method, whereas global features are extracted in
the CNN-based method to obtain the classification
model. The overall processes of each method are briefly
explained in this section.
SURF-based classification
Csurka et al.
proposed a bag-of-words (BoW) model
for the natural image classification of objects such as
2Structural Health Monitoring 00(0)
trees, cars, phones, and books. This process consists of
three stages: (1) feature extraction, (2) visual vocabulary
construction, and (3) classification. Because the crack
identification method used in this study is based on the
categorization process proposed by Csurka et al.,
image processing and machine learning algorithms used
in the three stages are briefly discussed.
Feature extraction: SURF. Feature extraction, which is a
process of determining the unique characteristics of an
image, is a vital part of object identification using
image processing. In contrast to Csurka et al.,
used scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT)
for fea-
ture extraction, we selected SURF owing to its high
performance and computational efficiency. SURF,
which is designed to obtain distinctive features from
digital images, consists of two main procedures: (1)
interest point detection and (2) interest point descrip-
tion. To detect the interest points on elements such as
blobs, corners, and edges, the determinant of the
Hessian matrix is used as a measure for evaluating the
local change around each pixel. After the interest
points are obtained, Haar wavelet responses are calcu-
lated within a circular neighborhood; an orientation is
then assigned to each point using these responses. A
square region is subsequently generated along the
obtained orientation to address the image rotations. A
feature vector with 64 elements is finally computed
using the Haar wavelet responses in both the horizontal
and vertical directions in 4 34 sub-regions.
Visual vocabulary construction: k-means clustering. The fea-
ture vectors of all the interest points are used to gener-
ate a visual word that serves as a representative, small
image segment to demonstrate features such as color,
shape, and surface texture. An image contains various
interest points and corresponding feature vectors; there-
fore, it is necessary to determine the characteristic fea-
tures of cracks and noncracks to efficiently handle the
large volume of images in the training stage. k-means
which is a popular method for cluster anal-
ysis, is introduced to determine the representative clus-
ters, in which the mean values of the feature vectors are
the visual words. The results of the k-means clustering
(i.e. visual words) are then grouped, and this group is
called visual vocabulary or the bag of features.
Classification: SVM. To categorize the visual vocabulary
through k-means clustering, Csurka et al.
used SVM,
which is one of the most common classification algo-
rithms owing to its robustness, computational effi-
ciency, and resistance to over-fitting. When two
different sets (i.e. cracks and noncracks) of images are
trained for the classification, a visual vocabulary
should be first generated from all the images using
k-means clustering. Subsequently, the frequency of
occurrence of the visual words in the vocabulary is cal-
culated for each category. The obtained feature histo-
grams are then inputted to the SVM to construct the
classification model. Among the various SVM classi-
fiers (e.g. linear, quadratic, cubic, and Gaussian), the
linear SVM classifier, which is the most widely used, is
selected in this work.
CNN-based classification
The CNN is a feed-forward artificial neural network,
which has been demonstrated as a powerful tool for
image classification. Krizhevsky et al.
AlexNet, by implementing CNN, to classify natural
images into 1000 categories. In contrast to the SURF-
based classification, the architecture of AlexNet is a
hierarchical structure, having five convolutional layers
and three fully connected layers. Each convolutional
layer handles an input image having different kernels
and corresponding sizes. Furthermore, AlexNet is
equipped with rectified linear units (ReLUs) and max
pooling between the convolutional layers to enhance
the classification performance in terms of the computa-
tional time and accuracy. After passing through the
convolutional layers, the output will go through three
fully connected layers with the softmax activation func-
tion to identify the class of the image, such as animal,
car, fruit, or vegetable. Figure 1 shows the overall pro-
cess of the CNN-based and SURF-based classifica-
tions, modified from the study by Zheng et al.
that the CNN-based method directly uses global fea-
tures for the classification, whereas the SURF-based
method uses visual words clustered from local features.
For training the classification model, a set of surface
images needs to be prepared. A typical method of
applying CNN is to employ a scanning window, in
which the input images are divided into a number
of sub-images with a fixed resolution, as shown in
Figure 1.
The sub-images are manually categorized
as either a cracked surface or as an intact surface to
build the classification model, which is used to deter-
mine the existence and locations of the cracks.
Although the CNN shows strong potential, the scan-
ning window was found to be inefficient in that the
intact surface, which takes up a majority of an image,
has the highest influence in the training. As an alterna-
tive to the scanning window, Faster R-CNN,
can be used to automatically detect important objects,
has been used for classifying concrete crack and steel
delamination and corrosion.
However, crack identifi-
cation from images that contain crack-like noncrack
Kim et al. 3
objects have received little attention, despite this case
being quite common in practice.
Concrete crack identification using
machine learning
Based on the categorization process described in the
previous section, a concrete crack identification
approach is developed, consisting of two main pro-
cesses: (1) generation of CCRs and (2) SURF-based
and CNN-based classifications. Unlike the natural
image classification process, the proposed approach
can handle concrete surface images containing multiple
cracks and noncracks that generally cover small por-
tions of the entire image area. To enable this, crack
candidates, which can be actual cracks or crack-like
noncracks, are initially extracted using image binariza-
tion and then manually categorized as either a crack or
as a noncrack in the training stage. Subsequently,
SURF and CNN features are obtained from the CCRs,
from which the classification models are constructed.
The trained models are finally applied to new images to
evaluate the classification performances.
The proposed approach is employed for identifying
cracks in concrete surface images that may contain
crack and/or crack-like noncrack objects. The pro-
posed framework is designed to initially select crack
candidates from surface images that may contain either
a crack or a noncrack. The selected crack candidates
constitute the CCRs, which are further used in building
and applying the classification model.
The crack candidates, which represent both actual
crack and crack-like noncrack objects, are selected from
a concrete surface image for effective classification. The
crack elements are typically represented by dark colors,
which can be simply extracted using image binarization
methods. In the image binarization approach, all the
pixels are converted into zero (black) or one (white)
based on a threshold calculated using the statistical
properties, such as pixel intensities and user-defined
parameters such as sensitivity and window size. Among
the various image binarization methods
for detecting the CCRs, Sauvola’s binarization is used
in this study owing to its high performance in noisy and
high-contrast images,
as shown in equation (1)
where Ris a factor for normalizing the standard devia-
tion, kis the sensitivity, and mand sare the mean and
standard deviation of pixel intensities, respectively.
Note that the sensitivity controls the contribution of
the statistical properties, and the window represents a
rectangular box in which the threshold of each pixel is
calculated. In contrast to other methods that directly
employ the standard deviation, Sauvola’s binarization
makes it possible to amplify the contribution of the
standard deviation in an adaptive manner by a factor
of R, making it effective with noisy and high-contrast
images. The image binarization finally returns the crack
and noncrack objects marked as black in the binary
images. Most of the obtained objects appear to be
clearly noncracks because of noisy surface textures,
which can be removed based on their geometric pat-
terns such as the eccentricity and the number of pixels
in each pixel group, as shown in equation (2)
Figure 1. Schematic of SURF-based and CNN-based methods.
Source: Modified from Zheng et al.
4Structural Health Monitoring 00(0)
where eand Aare the eccentricity and the number of
pixels of a pixel group in the binary image, respectively.
The computational efficiency can be improved by filter-
ing the unnecessary noisy objects. Finally, the smallest
rectangles containing crack candidates are marked in
the original image, as shown in Figure 2. Note that the
CCR may contain either a true crack or a crack-like
noncrack object. This implies that if only Sauvola’s
binarization is applied to an input image without fur-
ther machine learning-based classification, all the CCRs
are considered as cracks, even if some of them are non-
cracks (0% accuracy for true negative).
The advantages of the CCRs in the proposed frame-
work can be summarized as follows:
1. The application of the CCRs is tailored to the clas-
sification of actual cracks and crack-like noncrack
objects. Previous studies utilizing the scanning win-
dow focused on detecting cracks on intact sur-
However, the CCRs enable constructing
a classification model trained with cracks and
crack-like noncracks.
2. The computational efficiency can be enhanced
because only the selected CCRs are used in the
training and validation stages. Considering that the
image background, which does not contain possi-
ble crack or noncrack objects, occupies a major
portion of the concrete surface image, excluding
the background can significantly reduce the com-
putational burden.
3. A robust classification model can be constructed
from the CCRs. Previous studies that have used
the scanning window have an issue that classifica-
tion accuracy can be degraded when a crack or a
noncrack is located at the edges of an image.
contrast to the scanning window, as a crack or a
noncrack in the CCRs is generally located at the
center of an image, the proposed CCR-based
framework is optimized for the classification.
SURF-based and CNN-based classification models
To construct the classification models, SURF and
CNN features are obtained from the CCRs. In the
SURF-based method, a grayscale image is used to
extract the local features. A concrete surface image typi-
cally contains a large number of local features because
of the noisy surface texture, thus affecting the classifica-
tion of the cracks and noncracks. Because the impor-
tant features are largely located on crack-like shapes
(either actual cracks or noncracks), the binary informa-
tion of the CCRs is used to preferentially select the
SURF features on the crack segments, whereas most of
the noisy SURF features on the concrete surface are fil-
tered out, as shown in Figure 3. In contrast to the
SURF-based method, the CNN-based method resizes
the RGB image to a fixed resolution of 227 3227 33
for the input image in the employed CNN architecture.
Note that the input size of AlexNet is introduced in the
proposed approach.
The classification models of the SURF-based and
CNN-based methods are constructed using the CCRs
obtained from the concrete surface images. From the
features obtained using SURF, the visual words that
contain representative, small image segments are gener-
ated using k-means clustering. Subsequently, the
obtained visual words are grouped to create a visual
vocabulary. Here, the frequency of occurrence of the
visual words in each category (i.e. cracks and non-
cracks) is calculated, from which the classification
model is obtained using the linear SVM classifier. The
trained model can be used to categorize new CCRs.
Note that the clustering and classification processes
used in this work follow the procedures described
in section ‘‘SURF-based classification.’’ In the
Figure 2. Generation of the CCRs in the entire image.
Kim et al. 5
CNN-based method, the obtained CNN features pass
through the fully connected layers and then through the
output layer to categorize the label, as described in section
‘‘CNN-based classification.’’ Figure 4 shows the schematic
of the overall process of the proposed approach.
Experimental validation
Experimental setup
The proposed crack identification approach is evalu-
ated to demonstrate its performance using surface
images obtained from concrete structures. The image
binarization is applied to 487 images captured using
digital cameras (see Table 1) to extract the CCRs
including cracks and noncracks. The user-defined para-
meters of the image binarization are selected as 0.07
and 131 for the sensitivity and the window size, respec-
In addition, the thresholds of the noise object
removal are selected as 0.9 and 5000 for the eccentricity
and the number of pixels in each pixel group, respec-
tively. Finally, 3186 CCRs are generated, which consist
of 527 actual cracks and 2659 noncracks. To obtain a
robust classification model, the image set is collected
from various concrete surfaces under different working
distances between the camera and the concrete surface,
and under different illuminance conditions. Figure 5
shows typical sample images taken from the set. The
images contain noncracks such as dark shadows, stains
flowing down from the top, dust, and protruding lumps
generated from the casts, which are generally found in
concrete structures. Furthermore, these kinds of crack-
like noncracks are found to be similar to cracks in
terms of geometry (e.g. long and thin) and color (both
are dark). Note that the image database also includes
branched cracks, spalling, and various orientations of
cracks. All images can be downloaded at: http://shm.u-
Classification performance comparison between
The classification models of the SURF-based and
CNN-based methods are implemented using
To evaluate the classification perfor-
mances with respect to the size of CCRs, six sets (i.e.
100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000) of CCRs are
constructed from 3186 CCRs. In the feature extrac-
tion stage, SURF and CNN features are obtained by
following the procedure of the proposed approach, as
shown in Figure 3. To generate the classification
model of the SURF-based method, three cases with
different sizes of visual words (i.e. 100, 500, and 1000)
are considered in the k-means clustering. Three cases
with different minibatch sizes (i.e. 50, 100, and
200) are selected for the CNN-based method. With
regard to the computational environment, a PC with
an Intel Core i7-7700 processor clocked at 3.60 GHz
dedicated GPU (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080) was
Figure 3. Feature extraction process of SURF and CNN.
6Structural Health Monitoring 00(0)
Figure 6 shows the typical classification results. Both
the SURF-based and CNN-based methods successfully
categorize the CCRs in the sample images as either a
crack or as a noncrack, as indicated by the blue and red
boxes. Note that only a few representative CCRs are
shown for effective demonstration.
The trained classification models of the SURF-based
and CNN-based methods are compared to quantita-
tively evaluate the identification performances. A 10-
fold cross-validation is conducted for each CCR set
(i.e. 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000). Figure 7
shows the results of the SURF-based method with three
different visual words (i.e. SURF-100, SURF-500, and
SURF-1000) and those of the CNN-based method with
three different minibatch sizes (i.e. CNN-50, CNN-100,
Figure 4. Flowchart of the proposed approach for concrete crack identification.
Table 1. Specifications of used cameras.
EOS-1D X Coolpix 900S
Manufacture Canon Nikon
Image resolution 17.9 MP 15.9 MP
Focal length 100 mm 4.3–357 mm
Figure 5. Sample images of concrete surfaces used for experimental validation.
Kim et al. 7
and CNN-200). Here, the following five performance
metrics are selected to compare the models:
Precision: TP/(TP +FP);
Recall: TP/(TP +FN);
F1 score:23(precision 3recall)/(precision +recall);
Accuracy: (TP +TN)/(TP +FP +FN +TN);
Computational time in the training stage.
Where TP, FP, FN, and TN denote true positive, false
positive, false negative, and true negative, respectively.
As shown in Figure 7(b), the recall values correspond-
ing to the SURF-based and CNN-based methods exhi-
bit increasing trends with respect to the number of
CCRs. However, the recall value of the SURF-based
method decreases when the largest size of the CCRs is
employed (i.e. 3000) because of over-fitting. In terms of
the precision, as shown in Figure 7(a), the precision of
the CNN-based method is higher than that of the
SURF-based method and is reflected in the high F1
score (Figure 7(c)) and accuracy (Figure 7(d)). In
particular, the F1 score and the accuracy of CNN-50
significantly increase higher than those of the SURF-
based method when 3000 CCRs are used in the train-
ing. Thus, when a sufficient minibatch size is used,
CNN is observed to exhibit consistently high-
performance metrics. In addition, the computational
time for generating each classification model exhibits
increasing trends in accordance with the number of
CCRs, as shown in Figure 7(e). Although the CNN-
based method is slightly better than the SURF-based
method, it is difficult to directly compare them because
the SURF-based and CNN-based methods are imple-
mented on different processing units of CPU and GPU,
respectively. Overall, the CNN-based method outper-
forms the SURF-based method in most cases in the
crack and noncrack classifications.
The classification models of the SURF-based and
CNN-based methods can be compared for specific
CCR cases to qualitatively understand their identifica-
tion characteristics. In particular, SURF-1000 and
CNN-200 are used to categorize the CCRs in concrete
Figure 6. Typical classification results of cracks and noncracks from the CCRs (both the SURF-based and CNN-based methods
correctly classify the CCRs): (a) sample 1, (b) sample 2, (c) sample 3, and (d) sample 4.
8Structural Health Monitoring 00(0)
Figure 7. Comparison of the SURF-based and CNN-based methods in terms of (a) precision, (b) recall, (c) F1 score, (d) accuracy, and
(e) computational time.
Kim et al. 9
Figure 8. Classification of cracks and noncracks from the CCRs: (a) case 1 with the SURF-based method, (b) case 1 with the
CNN-based method, (c) case 2 with the SURF-based method, (d) case 2 with the CNN-based method, (e) case 3 with the SURF-
based method, (f) case 3 with the CNN-based method, (g) case 4 with the SURF-based method, and (h) case 4 with the CNN-based
10 Structural Health Monitoring 00(0)
surface images that are not used in the training stage.
Figure 8 shows the classification results for the four
cases. Note that cases 1, 2, 3, and 4 represent dark stains
flowing down from the top, protruding lumps generated
between the casts, cement leaking from the cast, and sur-
face cracks, respectively. As shown in Figure 8(b), (d),
(f), and (h), CNN-200 correctly classifies all the CCRs in
the four cases as either a crack or as a noncrack, as indi-
cated in the blue and red boxes, respectively. In particu-
lar, the crack-like noncracks in cases 1, 2, and 3 that
share similar geometry and colors with those of cracks
are successfully identified as noncracks. Furthermore,
the cracks with small widths are accurately recognized in
case 4. In contrast to the CNN-based method, false posi-
tives and negatives are found in case of the SURF-based
method (see Figure 8(a), (c), (e), and (g)). These examples
show that the overall performance of the CNN-based
method is better than that of the SURF-based method.
Nevertheless, for the images used in this study, both the
SURF-based and CNN-based methods correctly classify
cracks and noncracks in most cases.
Although the classification performance of the
CNN-based method is better in classifying actual
cracks and crack-like noncrack objects, some of the
CCRs could be successfully categorized only using the
SURF-based method. As shown in Figure 9, both the
SURF-based and CNN-based methods yield false
negatives; however, the CNN-based method has an
additional false detection from the lump on the con-
crete surface. Thus, the local features extracted using
the SURF can in some instances correctly classify the
CCRs that were incorrectly categorized using the
CNN-based method. Hence, the combined use of deep
neural networks and SVM classifiers with local/global
features is found to have a potential to improve the
classification performance.
To clearly show the advantage of the proposed crack
identification, a comparative analysis has been con-
ducted for three different classification models of previ-
ous studies and the proposed approach. Model A
represents a classical classification constructed with
k-means clustering and SVM. Widely used features for
training in the literature
are selected, including
geometric patterns and statistical properties of crack
and crack-like noncrack objects on concrete surface
images. Based on the work by Cha et al.,
model B is
constructed using CNN with cracks and intact surfaces,
while crack-like noncracks are not used. Model C built
with CNN represents the proposed approach. All the
number of CCRs in the training set are constant in
each model (i.e. 527 cracks and 2659 intact surfaces or
crack-like noncracks), and the parameters correspond-
ing to the highest performance shown in Figure 7 are
selected here. In the validation stage, a 10-fold cross-
validation is conducted, in which all the classification
models are applied to the CCRs containing largely
cracks and crack-like noncracks. The training config-
uration for the three models is summarized in Table 2.
The validation results in Table 2 clearly show
the efficacy of the proposed approach. The low-
performance metrics of model A reveals that the geo-
metric patterns and statistical properties are inadequate
features to distinguish cracks and crack-like noncracks.
In addition, without using crack-like noncracks results in
poor classification results in model B. As such, the CNN
features trained with cracks and crack-like noncracks are
the critical enablers for successful crack identification.
This article proposes a machine learning approach to
determine the existence and location of cracks in
Figure 9. Classification of cracks and noncracks from the CCRs: (a) case 5 with the SURF-based method and (b) case 5 with the
CNN-based method.
Kim et al. 11
concrete surface images containing possible crack-like
noncrack objects. The main contribution of this article
was to propose a classification framework based on the
CCRs for identifying cracks in the presence of non-
crack objects that share similar image characteristics
(i.e. shape and color). In the training stage, concrete
surface images with cracks and noncracks were pre-
pared, from which CCRs were automatically extracted
using image binarization. After the CCRs were gener-
ated, the SURF-based and CNN-based methods were
applied to the CCRs to extract the important features
of the cracks and noncracks, which were subsequently
used to construct classification models. The obtained
crack identification models were validated using con-
crete surface images that were not part of the training
set. The experimental results confirmed that the pro-
posed framework could successfully identify both cracks
and crack-like noncracks using CCRs. Furthermore,
the CNN-based method was found to be more accurate
and efficient than the SURF-based method for crack
identification. The experimental results can be summar-
ized as follows:
1. Cracks and noncrack objects were effectively
extracted and categorized from concrete surface
images using the proposed crack identification
framework based on the extracted CCRs.
2. The overall performance of the CNN-based
method was better than that of the SURF-based
method in most cases. The precision and F1 score
were higher for the CNN-based method provided
that sufficiently large minibatch sizes and CCR set
sizes were used. The recall and accuracy of the
CNN-based and SURF-based methods were
largely the same.
3. In some cases, the SURF-based method was able
to classify CCRs that were incorrectly classified
using the CNN-based method. Combining
deep neural networks and SVM classifiers with
local/global features could enable improved classi-
fication performance compared to using each
method separately.
4. By introducing various crack-like noncracks in the
form of CCRs in the training, the proposed framework
enables accurate identification of cracks from concrete
surface images in the presence of noncrack objects.
The proposed machine-learning-based crack identifica-
tion approach has a strong potential for automated
crack assessment of concrete structures.
Declaration of conflicting interests
The author(s) declare no potential conflicts of interest with
respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial sup-
port for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
article: This research was supported by a grant (18SCIP-
B103706-04) from the Construction Technology Research
Program funded by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and
Transport of Korean government.
Sung-Han Sim
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14 Structural Health Monitoring 00(0)
... The previous study on [47] uses machine learning to assist in determining the presence and location of cracks in concrete using surface images. The method provides a crack candidate region to categorize cracks and non-cracks. ...
Buildings and infrastructure in congested metropolitan areas are continuously deteriorating. Various structural flaws such as surface cracks, spalling, delamination, and other defects are found, and keep on progressing. Traditionally, the assessment and inspection is conducted by humans; however, due to human physiology, the assessment limits the accuracy of image evaluation, making it more subjective rather than objective. Thus, in this study, a multivariant defect recognition technique was developed to efficiently assess the various structural health issues of concrete. The image dataset used was comprised of 3650 different types of concrete defects, including surface cracks, delamination, spalling, and non-crack concretes. The proposed scheme of this paper is the development of an automated image-based concrete condition recognition technique to categorize, not only non-defective concrete into defective concrete, but also multivariant defects such as surface cracks, delamination, and spalling. The developed convolution-based model multivariant defect recognition neural network can recognize different types of defects on concretes. The trained model observed a 98.8% defect detection accuracy. In addition, the proposed system can promote the development of various defect detection and recognition methods, which can accelerate the evaluation of the conditions of existing structures.
... In this method, statistical features are analyzed, and support vector machines are used to detect the damages. Kim et al. [21] reported an ML-based methodology to identify cracks. The crack candidate region is used to categorize the cracks and non-cracks from the concrete surface image. ...
Full-text available
The rapid advancement in computer vision has facilitated new means for the automatic assessment of structural damages. This study aims to develop a deep learning-based autonomous damage detection framework for concrete structures under fire conditions. A hybrid deep learning network comprising of Convolution Neural Network (CNN) and Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) network is proposed herein. Initially, the CNN is applied in the feature extraction phase, and the LSTM is used for damage detection and classification. The proposed hybrid network is then deployed to evaluate the structural damage of three types of self-compacting concrete (SCC) specimens exposed to standard fire conditions. A series of systematic studies are performed to optimize the network architecture and hyper-parameters. The effectiveness of the proposed hybrid method is contrasted with existing CNN methods against real datasets. Our analysis shows that the proposed framework delivers a robust and improved performance against traditional deep learning methods. Overall, the proposed framework opens the door for adopting autonomous damage detection systems for post-fire conditions.
This chapter presents the performance evaluation methods and indicators, and provides a summary of the types of general indicators in infrastructure evaluation. It provides a general classification of the performance evaluation methods and common indicators. The chapter presents a general category of evaluation metrics that includes General statistics, Basic rations, Rations of ratios, Additional statistics, and Operating characteristic. In the world of machine learning and automated algorithms in statistical classification, the confusion matrix, also known as the error matrix, is always used for evaluation. The chapter presents the necessary standards for building a database for training and testing algorithms. Each model consists of three parts in the database for validation and performance evaluation. These three main sections include training data, validation data, and test data. Cross validation is a method used to select a model independent of the nature of the database.
This chapter presents the basic principles and working methods of diagnosis and new effective parameters in diagnosing failure or anomaly. It introduces various methods for automatic detection of anomalies in infrastructure, including road paving, that can be further developed for other infrastructure, such as tunnel walls, structures, dams, silos, and power plant walls. General hypotheses and rules in processing for diagnosis belong to some rules. Each method that is available for diagnosis can be considered categorized as one of the following: photometric hypotheses, geometric and photometric hypotheses, geometric hypotheses, and transform hypotheses. The chapter provides a brief introduction to each of these methods. It presents various diagnostic methods based on feature extraction and the effect of each in detecting images containing anomalies. Some of these are: wavelet method, high amplitude wavelet coefficient percentage, high‐frequency wavelet energy percentage, wavelet standard deviation, and so on.
A method based on the baseline model of the visual characteristics of images (BMVCI) is proposed to detect cracks in concrete structures. BMVCI refers to the model, which consists of images of the noncrack areas of a concrete structure with cracks or images of the noncrack state of a concrete structure. Compared with the performance of edge detection (ED) methods for detecting cracks in concrete structures, this baseline model expands the quasi‐distance between the edges of cracks and the image background; thus, the crack detection accuracy is effectively improved. Additionally, the discriminative threshold of cracks is quantitatively determined with BMVCI, which avoids the influence of artificial interference when determining the abovementioned threshold used for ED methods. Meanwhile, compared with the methods based on artificial intelligence, such as deep learning (DL), the calculating efficiency of the proposed method is higher because the proposed method converts the high‐dimensional image data into low‐dimensional digital features for training. With the same small size set of training samples, the accuracy of the crack detection of the proposed method is higher than that of the methods based on the framework of DL. In this study, Gaussian convolution is applied to generate the visual characteristics of images, and then a kernel principal component analysis‐based method is implemented to establish the BMVCI. The basic idea of novelty detection is applied to detect cracks in concrete structures. Finally, an experiment on concrete structures is designed and applied to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Deep Learning is a machine learning area that has recently been used in a variety of industries. Unsupervised, semi-supervised, and supervised-learning are only a few of the strategies that have been developed to accommodate different types of learning. A number of experiments showed that deep learning systems fared better than traditional ones when it came to image processing, computer vision, and pattern recognition. Several real-world applications and hierarchical systems have utilised transfer learning and deep learning algorithms for pattern recognition and classification tasks. Real-world machine learning settings, on the other hand, often do not support this assumption since training data can be difficult or expensive to get, and there is a constant need to generate high-performance beginners who can work with data from a variety of sources. The objective of this paper is using deep learning to uncover higher-level representational features, to clearly explain transfer learning, to provide current solutions and evaluate applications in diverse areas of transfer learning as well as deep learning.
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The Westend Bridge is located on the A100 Highway in Berlin. An integrated continuous dynamic monitoring system, composed of 20 velocity sensors, 5 temperature sensors, 3 strain gauges, 2 inclination sensors and 1 crack sensor was implemented by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in 2000. The system runs continuously with occasional intermittence and leads to a huge amount of data over a 14-year span. In this article, variations of the strain, crack and inclination measurements during the last 14 years are presented. It is noted that the observed crack and inclination of the bridge are strongly influenced by seasonal temperature variation. It further induces change in the relationship between the strains measured in both concrete and prestressed tendon. Application of k-means cluster analysis technique in both the crack and strain measurements can partition them into different seasonal phases by identifying ‘turning points’ that indicate annual periodical bridge change. In the period of these two ‘turning points’, a strong linear relation of the strains in two materials is observed. In the rest of the year, a nonlinear relationship between the strains recorded in both the concrete and the prestressed tendon is noted. The possible reason is the additional thermal load due to the change in temperature difference between the bridge’s surface and soffit. Finally, a health index in a framework of regression model and process control theory is proposed by investigating the linear relationship between the strains in concrete and prestressed tendon. The tendency of the health index in the 14 years may suggest the long-term bridge change during that time frame.
Automated pavement distress detection and classification has remained one of the high-priority research areas for transportation agencies. In this paper, we employed a Deep Convolutional Neural Network (DCNN) trained on the ‘big data’ ImageNet database, which contains millions of images, and transfer that deep earning to automatically detect cracks in Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA) and Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) surfaced pavement images that also include a variety of non-crack anomalies and defects. Apart from the common sources of false positives encountered in vision based automated pavement crack detection, a significantly higher order of complexity was introduced in this study by trying to train a classifier on combined HMA-surfaced and PCC-surfaced images that have different surface characteristics. A single-layer neural network classifier (with ‘adam’ optimizer) trained on ImageNet pre-trained VGG-16 DCNN features yielded the best performance.
Conference Paper
We trained a large, deep convolutional neural network to classify the 1.2 million high-resolution images in the ImageNet LSVRC-2010 contest into the 1000 dif- ferent classes. On the test data, we achieved top-1 and top-5 error rates of 37.5% and 17.0% which is considerably better than the previous state-of-the-art. The neural network, which has 60 million parameters and 650,000 neurons, consists of five convolutional layers, some of which are followed by max-pooling layers, and three fully-connected layers with a final 1000-way softmax. To make training faster, we used non-saturating neurons and a very efficient GPU implemen- tation of the convolution operation. To reduce overfitting in the fully-connected layers we employed a recently-developed regularization method called dropout that proved to be very effective. We also entered a variant of this model in the ILSVRC-2012 competition and achieved a winning top-5 test error rate of 15.3%, compared to 26.2% achieved by the second-best entry
The CrackNet, an efficient architecture based on the Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), is proposed in this article for automated pavement crack detection on 3D asphalt surfaces with explicit objective of pixel-perfect accuracy. Unlike the commonly used CNN, CrackNet does not have any pooling layers which downsize the outputs of previous layers. CrackNet fundamentally ensures pixel-perfect accuracy using the newly developed technique of invariant image width and height through all layers. CrackNet consists of five layers and includes more than one million parameters that are trained in the learning process. The input data of the CrackNet are feature maps generated by the feature extractor using the proposed line filters with various orientations, widths, and lengths. The output of CrackNet is the set of predicted class scores for all pixels. The hidden layers of CrackNet are convolutional layers and fully connected layers. CrackNet is trained with 1,800 3D pavement images and is then demonstrated to be successful in detecting cracks under various conditions using another set of 200 3D pavement images. The experiment using the 200 testing 3D images showed that CrackNet can achieve high Precision (90.13%), Recall (87.63%) and F-measure (88.86%) simultaneously. Compared with recently developed crack detection methods based on traditional machine learning and imaging algorithms, the CrackNet significantly outperforms the traditional approaches in terms of F-measure. Using parallel computing techniques, CrackNet is programmed to be efficiently used in conjunction with the data collection software.
Installation of sensors networks for continuous in-service monitoring of structures and their efficiency conditions is a current research trend of paramount interest. On-line monitoring systems could be strategically useful for road infrastructures, which are expected to perform efficiently and be self-diagnostic, also in emergency scenarios. This work researches damage detection in composite concrete-steel structures that are typical for highway overpasses and bridges. The techniques herein proposed assume that typical damage in the deck occurs in form of delamination and cracking, and that it affects the peak power spectral density of dynamic curvature. The investigation is performed by combining results of measurements collected by long-gauge fiber optic strain sensors installed on monitored structure and a statistic approach. A finite element model has been also prepared and validated for deepening peculiar aspects of the investigation and the availability of the method. The proposed method for real time applications is able to detect a documented unusual behavior (e.g., damage or deterioration) through long-gauge fiber optic strain sensors measurements and a probabilistic study of the dynamic curvature power spectral density.