The purpose of this paper is to study the capabilities of the sonic echo method in assessing the location of defects and the minimum possible detectable defect size in a drilled shaft. Three-dimensional axisymmetric finite element models were performed to investigate the effects of the defect size, defect depth-to-shaft diameter ratio, and shaft-to-soil stiffness ratio on the response of the sonic echo test. According to the results from the numerical simulations, a useful formula for defect size assessment in a shaft based on the sonic echo method is proposed, considering these factors simultaneously. Furthermore, a formula for predicting the detectable length-to-diameter ratio of a shaft was also recommended which correlates with the shaft-to-soil stiffness ratio and it varies from 10 to 32.
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