In the spring of 2019, Encorus Group was contacted with a unique request. We were asked to assist in finding a time capsule, which was concealed in the cornerstone at Williamsville North High School during the 1969 – 1970 school year. While the school faculty had a pretty good idea of where the time capsule was located, the configuration of the building had changed somewhat in the years that had passed since it was placed. School officials wanted to be sure of its location before they began cutting holes in the wall! Encorus decided to use a small, handheld GPR (ground penetrating radar) unit, and was able to identify a void in the wall. The time capsule was indeed located and was subsequently removed.

Invented in the 1930’s as a tool for measuring the thickness of glaciers, GPR is a useful non-destructive testing method that uses radio waves to capture images below the surface of the ground (usually). GPR can also be used on soil, rock, pavement, and concrete, as well as ice, snow, or even water, and sometimes building walls. GPR can detect metallic and non-metallic objects, plastic, voids, rebar, conduit, and other elements hidden beneath the ground, in concrete, under floors or within walls.

Traditionally, GPR is used when operators are searching for buried utility lines, but there are many other unique applications where GPR is used. Farmers and other professionals in the agriculture field utilize it to identify underground sprinkler systems and to study soil conditions or water content without spending the time to dig and potentially disturbing crops. GPR is also useful for archaeologists, law enforcement, the military, and in other applications. It has even been used on the moon!

If you have any questions or would like a quote on GPR or any other mechanical integrity services, call Keith Taylor, Director of Mechanical Integrity Services at 716.592.3980, ext. 143, or email him at [email protected].