Researchers improve corrosion detection technology to prevent pipe leaks

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has created the next generation of transducers that use ultrasonic wave technology to detect pipe anomalies, allowing users to prevent leaks before they start. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has created the next generation of transducers that use ultrasonic wave technology to detect pipe anomalies, allowing users to prevent leaks before they start. The device, which uses Magnetostrictive Sensor (MsS) technology developed by SwRI, will be presented at the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from October 31 to November 3.

“Pipeline corrosion leading to leaks is very common,” said SwRI staff engineer Sergey Vinogradov, who developed the technology with staff engineer Keith Bartels and other SwRI staff. “There are only a few current methods for detecting defects before they cause leaks. Quite often the pipe is repaired and re-inspected after a leak occurs. We’ve developed technology that can constantly monitor the condition of the pipe, hopefully preventing leaks from happening in the first place.”

The technology is known as a magnetostrictive transducer (MsT) collar. It was originally developed by SwRI in 2002. The updated version has a flat, slim design that allows it to be used on pipes in tight spaces. In custom configurations, it can withstand heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The new, segmented MsT design also includes eight sensors that enable the converter to more accurately identify where corrosion is occurring in the pipe.

The MsT Collar uses magnetostrictive sensors that generate and receive directional waves that propagate along an elongated structure guided by its boundaries. This technique allows waves to travel long distances with little loss of energy. In some cases, hundreds of meters can be checked from a single location, although obstacles such as connectors will require an additional sensor.

“Instead of using one sensor to cover the entire circumference of the pipe, allowing only the axial location of the anomaly to be measured, we now have eight sensors in the transducer,” said Vinogradov. “Each of the sensors is independently connected to the electronics so that all possible directional wave signals can be received. Algorithms combine this information to better detect and localize the anomaly both axially and circumferentially, and corrosion growth can be monitored by examining the data sets acquired over time.”

The MsS system can send data to a remote terminal via a wireless transmitter or via a wired connection. It is primarily designed for oil and gas transmission pipelines to prevent costly and damaging leaks before they start. However, the technology is universal and is used for other industrial pipes, such as those used for water, heating or in chemical plants.


Team improves structural health monitoring with magnetostrictive transducer


Courtesy of Southwest Research Institute

Quote: Researchers Improve Corrosion Detecting Technology to Prevent Pipe Leaks (2022, October 26) retrieved on October 26, 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-10-corrosion-detecting-technology -leaks-pipes.html

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