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In-Line Service For Internal Inspection Of Unpiggable Buried Oil Pipelines Using Long Range Ultrasound Guided Waves In Fifty Metre Segments (PIGWAVES)
Start date: Apr 1, 2013, End date: Mar 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This proposal will aim to develop the enabling technology that will enable existing pipe crawling robots (pigs) to provide internal inspection of pipe walls using long range ultrasound guided waves (LRUG) deployed in pipe segments of about fifty metre length.The aim is to perform total volume inspection far more rapidly, accurately and cheaply than is presently achieved with magnetic and ultrasonic pigs by developing a circumferential collar of LRUG sensors and novel time reversal focussing to produce a map of the circumferential and axial pipe corrosion and cracks. As LRUG sensors detect all significant corrosion in oil and gas pipelines within typically 50 metre of the sensors in a few milliseconds, long lengths of pipe can be scanned very rapidly with sample wave echo patterns obtained only every 50 metres thereby data storage requirements will be orders of magnitude less than present inspection methods. The speed of travel through the pipe could thus be faster than pigs that gather data with ultrasonic compression probes.To test the technology developed by the project, the LRUG collar will be deployed initially by a mechanism to pull the collar through a pipe full of water at different constant and also varying speeds.A prototype robot will be developed that is intrinsically safe for operation in explosive environments and that is lightweight (neutrally buoyant) to investigate how best to deploy the LRUG technology in a real pipeline with faster travel and cheaper robots.

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