Detection of Pipeline Weakening and Defects via Analysis of Fluid Pressure Dynamic Response


Mr Jeremy ven der Buhs (Master of Science in Engineering Candidate - Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan), Dr Travis Wiens (Assistant Professor - Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan)

Long pipelines are extremely common in industries that refine materials such as oil and gas, chemical production, and mining. These pipelines typically contain liquid chemicals or slurries that contain water as the working fluid to transport solids such as sand, clay, and tailings. However very effective at moving materials over long distances, internal pipe erosion and corrosion result from continuous flow over long periods of time, and if not detected and maintained, can lead to failure. Inside fluid pipelines, the pressure wave propagation speed is dependent on the mechanical and geometrical properties of the pipe. Common defects such as erosion, corrosion, and leaks have shown to have a significant affect on the dynamic response of the pressure within the pipeline. With recent advancements in modelling long, fluid-filled, transmission lines with the transmission line method (TLM) technique, faster and easier computation of fluid dynamic responses can be performed. Preliminary analysis and simulations using the TLM have theoretically shown that pipe defects and weakening can be detected in the frequency response and located by scaling the impulse response of the pipeline with respect to the wave propagation speed. Future development of this technology could lead to a continuous pipeline monitoring and alerting system designed to prevent spills, effectively schedule maintenance, and increase the safety of workers and the environment.
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