Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sarah E. Kruse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Juan Lorenzo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen McNutt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rocco Malservisi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Glenn Thompson, Ph.D.


Deconvolution, Full-waveform Inversion, Ground Penetrating radar (GPR), Modeling, Reflectivity, Source wavelet, Sparsity


Maintenance of aging buried infrastructure and reinforced concrete are critical issues in the United States. Inexpensive non-destructive techniques for mapping and imaging infrastructure and defects are an integral component of maintenance. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a widely-used non-destructive tool for locating buried infrastructure and for imaging rebar and other features of interest to civil engineers. Conventional acquisition and interpretation of GPR profiles is based on the arrival times of strong reflected/diffracted returns, and qualitative interpretation of return amplitudes. Features are thereby generally well located, but their material properties are only qualitatively assessed. For example, in the typical imaging of buried pipes, the average radar wave velocity through the overlying soil is estimated, but the properties of the pipe itself are not quantitatively resolved. For pipes on the order of the radar wavelength (<5-35 cm), pipe dimensions and infilling material remain ambiguous. Full waveform inversion (FWI) methods exploit the entire radar return rather than the time and peak amplitude. FWI can generate better quantitative estimates of subsurface properties. In recent decades FWI methods, developed for seismic oil exploration, have been adapted and advanced for GPR with encouraging results. To date, however, FWI methods for GPR data have not been specifically tuned and applied on surface collected common offset GPR data, which are the most common type of GPR data for engineering applications. I present an effective FWI method specifically tailored for common-offset GPR data. This method is composed of three main components, the forward modeling, wavelet estimation and inversion tools. For the forward modeling and iterative data inversion I use two open-source software packages, gprMax and PEST. The source wavelet, which is the most challenging component that guarantees the success of the method, is estimated with a novel Sparse Blind Deconvolution (SBD) algorithm that I have developed. The present dissertation indicates that with FWI, GPR can yield better quantitative estimates, for example, of both the diameters of small pipes and rebar and their electromagnetic properties (permittivity, conductivity). Also better estimates of electrical properties of the surrounding media (i.e. soil or concrete) are achieved with FWI.