Acoustic wave propagation in buried pipes
Leakage is a major issue facing all the water companies. In some areas, it results in the loss of 30% of the water passing through treatment plants. Unfortunately, leaks are difficult to locate and any methods involving digging trenches to expose the pipe are extremely costly both in terms of labour and disruption to traffic, particularly in urban areas. Therefore any leak detection and location method which does not involve access to the pipe, other than at existing access points such as valves etc, is potentially extremely valuable. Since all pipes have access points at intervals along their length (valves etc), the use of measurements at these sites to infer the condition of the pipe between them is potentially very attractive. Acoustic waves will travel as guided waves along a pipe system so measurement of these is a promising approach which is exploited in correlators. These instruments, which measure the vibration produced by leaking water which is transmitted along the pipe to access points where accelerometers can be located, are valuable tools which are increasingly used. This project aims to improve our understanding of wave propagation in buried water pipes and so to indicate how more information could be extracted from correlator or related measurements.
EPSRC, Thames Water, North West Water, andNorthumbria Water
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