A pipeline collar developed by researchers from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, can detect anomalies in oil and gas pipes, locating leaks before they occur.

Building upon an earlier design, the current iteration of SwRI’s Magnetostrictive Transducer (MsT) Collar, which relies on a SwRI’s Magnetostrictive Sensor (MsS) technology, uses ultrasonic guided wave technology — a noninvasive rapid testing approach for detecting, locating and classifying corrosion defects — to detect anomalies in pipes.
Source: SwRISource: SwRI

According to its developers, the MsT collar can consistently monitor the condition of pipes with the potential for preventing leaks from developing at all, according to the SwRI team.

The new design of the MsT Collar is thin, flat and capable of withstanding temperatures up to 400° F. Further, eight sensors enable the transducer to more accurately locate where corrosion occurs on the pipeline.

Using magnetostrictive sensors, which produce and subsequently receive guided waves that transmit along a structure, guided by its boundaries, the researchers determined that guided waves will enable hundreds of meters of pipeline to be inspected from one location.

“Instead of using one sensor to cover an entire pipe circumference, allowing only the axial location of an anomaly to be measured, we now have eight sensors in the transducer,” explained the researchers. “Each of the sensors are independently connected to the electronics so that all possible guided wave signals can be acquired.”

The SwRI team continued: “Algorithms combine this information to better detect and locate the anomaly both axially and circumferentially, and the growth of the corrosion can be monitored by examining data sets acquired over time.”

In addition to its use in oil and gas pipelines, the MsT Collar is also suitable for use in industrial pipes, such as those used for water, heating or in chemical plants.

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