PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram
Search the site

 

Download our free e-book! Overcoating bridges and other structures.

Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


MIT Robot Pinpoints Pipe Leaks

Friday, June 20, 2014

Comment | More

A new self-propelled robotic device could detect exponentially smaller pipeline leaks of gas, water and oil than traditional systems can, its developers say.

A team at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has introduced a robotic system that can pinpoint leaks quickly and accurately by sensing a large pressure change in leak locations.

Ideally, the device will be produced in various sizes to detect leaks in gas, water and oil pipes.

Courtesy of the researchers, via MIT.edu

The device is made of two parts: a small robot with wheels and a drum-like membrane that forms a seal across the width of the pipe.

The research was funded by the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia through the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT.

Nonstop Monitoring

The device is made of two parts: a small robot with wheels and a drum-like membrane that forms a seal across the width of the pipe. If a leak is detected, the moving liquid distorts the membrane and pulls it toward the leak. Sensors detect the distortion and send the information back to a monitoring system via wireless technology.

The system "can detect leaks of just 1 to 2 millimeters in size, and at relatively low pressure," said Dimitrios Chatzigeorgiou, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at MIT and lead author of the papers.

According to Chatzigeorgiou, acoustic tests now in use have several drawbacks: They are effective only on metal pipes (plastic pipes dissipate sounds too quickly), are time-consuming, and require expert operators.

However, the small robotic device can move at 3 mph through pipes and is almost entirely automated. Ultimately, the robots could be placed into a pipe system and left there indefinitely, conducting nonstop monitoring, Chatzigeorgiou said.

"We proved that the concept works," Chatzigeorgiou said.

Membrane Sensitivity

The researchers believe the robot can detect leaks 1/10 to 1/20 the size capable of current methods because of the membrane's sensitivity. They also hope the device will be much more affordable than current systems.

Image: Christine Daniloff/MIT (Rendering of robotic device courtesy of the researchers)

The system can detect leaks of just 1 to 2 millimeters in size, and at relatively low pressure.

Kamal Youcef-Toumi, co-author of the research and an MIT mechanical engineering professor, added, "This technology allows for an unambiguous and reliable sensing of very small leaks that often go undetected for long periods of time."

The idea was presented at two recent international conferences—the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong and the American Control Conference in Portland, OR—and has been reported on in several papers.

Now researchers are talking to gas and water companies about setting up field tests under real conditions.

 

   

Tagged categories: Colleges and Universities; Gas detectors; Inspection; Pipelines; Research; Robotics; Technology

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
SAFE Systems'
Blast Lights &
Deadman Switches
 
Halogen or LED blast lights available with our NEW urethane bumper. Switches available in many colors for color coding your hoses.
 

 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Safety, Productivity, Quality. Robotic Blasting
 
Learn how this simple to use, field deployed, automatic robot is eliminating hazards in major confined, cluttered and complex surface preparation projects.
 

 
Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
 
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
 
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.
IndustrialVacuum.com
 

 
Detail Masters
 
Overspray Removal
 
We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.
 

 
PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
 
We Protect and Beautify the World
 
PPG is widely recognized as a world leader in protective and marine coatings, developing innovative, cutting-edge products and services.
 

 
RBW Enterprises, Inc.
 
Robotic Blasting and Painting
 
When using the FasterBlaster and FasterPainter, blasting and painting can be conducted simultaneously. View the video for a full explanation of the operation.
 

 
Monti Tools, Inc.
 
BRISTLE BLASTER® - THE ORIGINAL ONE
 
Surface cleanliness of SSPC-10 | Anchor profile
up to 4.7 mils | Removes corrosion & coatings |
ATEX approved for zone 1
| www.monti-tools.com | 832-623-7970
 

 
Clemco International GmbH
 
Global engineering-trusted solutions
 
For more than 70 years, Clemco has provided the highest quality blast equipment with a total commitment to comfort and safety.
 

 
PSS Industrial Group
 
AirTech - World Leader in Custom Spray Solutions
 
AirTech is the solution
for any custom spray application. We have painting & finishing equipment, blast equipment, painting accessories, booth filter and many more items in inventory.
 

 
Tnemec Company, Inc.
 
Online Coating Courses from Tnemec
 
For decades, Tnemec has offered its expertise to clients presenting face-to-face coatings courses. Now, these presentations are available to anyone for CEUs at Tnemec University.
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us