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Brunel University London and TWI deliver industry benefits

Fri, 26 June, 2020

TWI and academic partner Brunel University London have a longstanding relationship which has seen them collaborate over many years on the delivery of industry based PhDs in structural integrity topics, and the student research which informs these.  The PhDs are delivered through TWI’s National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC), whose founding sponsors are BP and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, and each student is allocated a TWI technical section to work within that suits their research subject.

This industry-academic pairing approach has led to a number of benefits, both for industry in terms of enhancing knowhow in crucial areas such as the reliability and safety of assets, and ways in which to reduce carbon footprint, and for wider society through the training of next generation researchers who have the ability to identify and develop optimal technology solutions.

One of the technology areas which has been positively impacted by the placing of NSIRC students within TWI is that of Asset Lifecycle Management, particularly in data analytics.  These research activities have enabled additional features to be created for TWI’s proprietary software which operators use to implement a risk-based integrity management approach in pipelines and steam systems.  In the longer term, the ongoing combination of data analytics with conventional risk assessment methods has huge potential for efficiency and cost savings.  In addition, associated work on steam systems has informed recent inputs by TWI to API (American Petroleum Institute) 581 standards, providing further benefits to a wider stakeholder group.

Data analytics was also incorporated into research carried out to determine the remaining life of conductor deadlegs for a project in the Middle East.  The outcomes were an increased understanding of the underlying problems that affect their lifetime and the identification of better methods with which to more confidently determine the condition of this crucial component.  Both of these have long term potential to help save operators large sums in lost revenue.

An earlier project addressing the better regulation of underground storage tanks in Malaysia led to a reduction in reactive shutdowns and an increase in safety levels, evidencing clear benefits for tank owners and operators.

Ujjwal Bharadwaj, Team Manager, Asset Life Management at TWI said “We have had a number of PhD students within my team, and in our wider Asset and Fracture Management section, as a result of the collaboration between TWI and Brunel University London, and these have enabled us to jointly further industry's knowledge of key technologies whilst looking at ways of building them into new process and systems that have industrial engagement.”

Tat-Hean Gan, NSIRC Director and TWI’s Director of Innovation and Skills went on to talk about the wider impact of NSIRC explaining “NSIRC is a world-renowned centre for industrially driven academic excellence in structural integrity.  Since its inception in 2012, it has trained 280 PhD and MSc students in the skills and knowledge required to become the future leaders of industry.  These high achieving engineers and scientists have presented at more than 170 international conferences, written almost 100 papers for peer-reviewed journals and won numerous prestigious prizes.”

“NSIRC alumni are now working in some of the largest companies in the world, including Ford Motors, Samsung Electronics, Hyundai, GE Renewable Energy, ARM and TWI.”

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