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Sponsor: ExxonMobile

PI: Salvatore Salamone

Conventionally, the assessment of pipelines relies on periodic visual inspections which are time-consuming and depends heavily on the skills of the inspectors. In addition, since degradation processes such as corrosion are cumulative, periodic inspections are often not the optimal procedure for identifying areas requiring timely action to mitigate corrosion. There is a pressing need to transition from periodic inspections that are typically visual at time intervals established on the basis of limited-to-no-knowledge of likely damage to an automated real-time condition-based inspection method that could be performed on a daily basis. This paradigm shift can be achieved by equipping pipelines with sensing and analysis systems to enable real-time awareness. With a paradigm shift into condition-based inspection, the main goal of this project is to design, implement, and validate a structural health monitoring (SHM) technology for detecting, evaluating and monitoring corrosion in pipelines. Overall it is proposed to use a novel class of sensing system, helical guided ultrasonic waves (HGUW) and advanced data processing techniques for providing an accurate diagnosis of the pipe’s health. The key advantages of the proposed monitoring system include: (1) the ability to probe a large area (also inaccessible), locating damage from only a few monitoring points, thus increasing the inspection cost effectiveness, (2) the ability to inspect simultaneously the entire circumferential area of the pipe, (3) the increased sensitivity to many structural defects (e.g.: corrosion, fatigue cracks, etc.) owing to the wave structure choice, (4) the possibility of multimode/frequency examination for defect classification and sizing, and (5) the capability to detect both active damage and pre- existing damage by toggling between the modes of “passive” acoustic emission testing and “active” ultrasonic testing.