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TWI Computational Engineering Expert Presents at COMSOL Day

Thu, 18 March, 2021

TWI Project Leader and computational engineering specialist, Rachel Lunn, was pleased to be an invited speaker at COMSOL Day United Kingdom on Thursday 18 March 2021.

The event was well attended by engineers and simulation specialists eager to learn the latest in multiphysics modelling, with sessions featuring software demonstrations and talks from experts in the field.

Rachel’s presentation, titled ‘Modeling the Risk of Electrostatic Discharge in Polymer Composite Pipes Used in Gas Applications’, focused on the transport of natural gas and particulates through non-metallic pipes and the associated build-up of static charge on the inner surface of the pipe. The presentation was based around project work undertaken as part of the work of the Non-Metallic Innovation Centre.

Due to the non-conductive nature of the pipe walls, this charge is not dissipated and may create a significant risk of explosion, damage, and injury to persons should it exceed a certain limit and discharge suddenly. Moreover, if the charge conditions across the pipe wall result in an electric field which exceeds the dielectric strength of the pipe material, then the subsequent discharge can melt a hole through the pipe wall, a phenomenon known as pin-holing. This risk has to be properly quantified and mitigated in order to ensure safe utilisation of non-metallic pipes in natural gas service.

Rachel joined TWI in 2018 after working in several engineering roles prior. She is currently a Project Leader in the Numerical Modelling and Optimisation section and specialises in computational engineering; applying finite element analysis techniques to engineering challenges from weld fatigue to structural integrity. She has experience with modelling a range of situations including welding residual stress and distortion, and multiphysics modelling of corrosion and electrostatics. Rachel also has a master’s degree in natural sciences, specialising in material science, from the University of Cambridge.

Find out more about computational engineering at TWI

The trajectory of sand particles in a gas flow. The impacts lead to charge transfer onto the inner surface of the pipe.
The trajectory of sand particles in a gas flow. The impacts lead to charge transfer onto the inner surface of the pipe.

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