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Guided Wave Signal Techniques to Overcome Pipeline Bends

Project Code: 0901-04


To develop analytical and/or semi-analytical techniques for fast calculation of pipe condition beyond pipe bends suitable for use in the field.

To generate initial validation data from laboratory experiments to determine the limitations and demonstrate the overall effectiveness of the new technique.

To develop visualisation tools for relatively un-skilled assessment of pipe network condition using long range guided waves.

Project Outline

A literature review will be carried out. This will concentrate on the assessment of available methods for signal reconstruction beyond pipe bend, including the preliminary TWI research work. The literature review will also evaluate suitable semi-analytical visualisation techniques for use in the field. This will include an assessment of the computation time required and the ease of integration with currently available software and hardware for guided wave inspection.

Next, research will be carried out to assess and develop the techniques. A combination of theoretical work, modelling and some experimentation in the laboratory will be used to achieve this. Modelling has been shown to provide a valuable insight into the nature of guided waves. It allows full 3D visualisation of the wave propagation and interactions. It has also been successfully validated a number of times and therefore is a valuable tool for testing ideas and understanding physical behaviour in a controlled environment. The experimental work will be used in support of this activity by demonstrating the relative merits and assessing the practical limitations of the techniques developed. It will also provide additional validation data.

When suitable reconstruction techniques have been developed and tested, these will be combined with semi-analytical methods with the goal of developing a tool that allows visualisation of the condition of the pipe beyond a bend. Trial visualisation tools will be developed and, finally, laboratory experiments will be carried out to produce validation data for assessment of the novel visualisation tool.

Relevant Industry Sectors

Power, Oil, Gas and Chemicals

Technical and Economic Benefits

This work will increase the accuracy of flaw and corrosion detection in pipe that cannot currently be properly inspected, and hence reduce the numbers of failures leading to spillage of pollutants, etc.

It is estimated that successful guided waves techniques will reduce a companys inspection costs by 80%. Typical costs of a single inspection of a single 100m length of inaccessible pipework are around 20k. The length of pipework requiring this type of inspection is estimated to be 10,000km in Europe. The potential saving to industry is therefore ~1.6 billion in Europe alone.

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