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High Energy Digital Radiography (HEDRad)
Start date: 01 Oct 2008, End date: 31 Jan 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project objective is to develop digital computed radiography technology for the volumetric examination of large scale safety critical pressure components (e.g. pump bowls, valve bodies, thick section vessel and pipe welds) for the detection of in-service defects, the presence of which could lead in catastrophic component failure. Energy sector businesses (e.g. oil & gas, petrochemical and power generation - civil nuclear and fossil fuel) use processes that operate at high pressure and often high temperature. The engineering components used in such processes include for example, pipes, valves, turbine casings, pump bowls, catalytic crackers/reformers etc, all of which can be made of large section thick materials to withstand the severe pressure/temperature conditions under which they operate. All of these components can be prone to in-service failure resulting from material degradation mechanisms such as metal fatigue, creep and corrosion. Failure of such components could easily be catastrophic in terms of local and district fatalities/injuries and environmental /economic impact. There are approximately 700 refineries, 5000+ chemical plants, 450 nuclear power stations and in excess of 3000 fossil fuelled power stations around the world. The trend is for the number of these plants to increase as the worlds developing countries will consumes ever increasing amounts of energy. Capital assets such as power stations, refineries and petrochemical plants usually generate revenues of typically €1 million/day. However, despite their strategic and critical applications and the dire ‘consequences of component failure’ (local and district safety hazard, environmental and economic), there are generally no economic, reliable Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques to volumetrically in-service examine critical thick section pressure retaining components that are vital to the plants continued safe operation.
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