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Open AccessArticle

Inverse Transient Analysis for Classification of Wall Thickness Variations in Pipelines

Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2013, 13(12), 17057-17066;
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Fluid Leak Detection)
Analysis of transient fluid pressure signals has been investigated as an alternative method of fault detection in pipeline systems and has shown promise in both laboratory and field trials. The advantage of the method is that it can potentially provide a fast and cost effective means of locating faults such as leaks, blockages and pipeline wall degradation within a pipeline while the system remains fully operational. The only requirement is that high speed pressure sensors are placed in contact with the fluid. Further development of the method requires detailed numerical models and enhanced understanding of transient flow within a pipeline where variations in pipeline condition and geometry occur. One such variation commonly encountered is the degradation or thinning of pipe walls, which can increase the susceptible of a pipeline to leak development. This paper aims to improve transient-based fault detection methods by investigating how changes in pipe wall thickness will affect the transient behaviour of a system; this is done through the analysis of laboratory experiments. The laboratory experiments are carried out on a stainless steel pipeline of constant outside diameter, into which a pipe section of variable wall thickness is inserted. In order to detect the location and severity of these changes in wall conditions within the laboratory system an inverse transient analysis procedure is employed which considers independent variations in wavespeed and diameter. Inverse transient analyses are carried out using a genetic algorithm optimisation routine to match the response from a one-dimensional method of characteristics transient model to the experimental time domain pressure responses. The accuracy of the detection technique is evaluated and benefits associated with various simplifying assumptions and simulation run times are investigated. It is found that for the case investigated, changes in the wavespeed and nominal diameter of the pipeline are both important to the accuracy of the inverse analysis procedure and can be used to differentiate the observed transient behaviour caused by changes in wall thickness from that caused by other known faults such as leaks. Further application of the method to real pipelines is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: transient; pipelines; water hammer; wall thickness; wavespeed; deterioration transient; pipelines; water hammer; wall thickness; wavespeed; deterioration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tuck, J.; Lee, P. Inverse Transient Analysis for Classification of Wall Thickness Variations in Pipelines. Sensors 2013, 13, 17057-17066.

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