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Ultrasonic detection and removal of fouling inside industrial and domestic pipes (UltraCleanPipe)
Start date: Dec 1, 2010, End date: Nov 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Fouling, as defined in this project, is the presence of unintended and unwanted deposits on the inside walls of industrial plant such as pipes, storage vessels, reactor vessels etc. Its occurrence is widespread though all industries, particularly oil and petrochemical pipelines, petrochemical plant, other chemical plant, pharmaceutical production, food processing as well as in plumbing systems throughout the domestic and industrial sector. Fouling shortens the plant life, increases the need for periodic cleaning and pipe replacement. It also causes contamination of the end products which is especially serious when the fouling involves bacterial biofilms and the products are intended for direct human consumption. In addition pipe blockages, deformation, rupture or corrosion cause by a build up of fouling can lead to major incidents such as explosions involving with threats to human life and plant destruction involving loss of product and jobs. In domestic pipes fouling causes taps and valves to seize up and leaks to occur which leads to expensive plumbing costs in replacement parts, high labour costs, expensive repairs from flood damage and disruption to domestic life. ULTRACLEANPIPE offers a novel solution to the general problem of identifying and then removing fouling in industrial plant as well as domestic plumbing. The system prototype will be designed for application to small bore pipes that arise in the food processing and pharmaceuticals production industry as well as in plumbing systems. This focus is taken because (i) small bore pipes are obviously much more prone to than large ones and (ii) contamination of products intended for human consumption is a problem of the highest order. However it is important to emphasise that the ULTRACLEANPIPE principle can be applied to all kinds of fouling in all industry by the use of a range of ultrasonic probe designs and operating frequencies

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