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TITLE: Use of Ultrasonic Guided Waves for over ground and heavily coated piping;

capabilities & limitation – A practical experience

*Santanu Saha. Intertek-Inspec; UAE


Seghar R. Intertek-Inspec; UAE
PO Box: 6130. Sharjah.
*: Corresponding author, email: Santanu.saha@intertek.com

ABSTRACT:

Guided wave Ultrasonic examination of long pipelines is now used almost regularly worldwide and
considered as a screening NDT tool for effective pipeline Asset Integrity Management. The technique
offers the possibility of rapid screening of long lengths of pipework for corrosion and other defects.
Generally, approximately a test range of 50m or more of pipe length can be examined from a single
transducer position, unless conditions like buried piping, heavy coating, and viscous fluid content, heavy
corrosion etc. prevents propagation of guided waves and rapidly attenuates the sound energy. Initially,
corrosion under insulation (CUI) was the major concern in the oil, gas, chemical and petro-chemical
industries for which there was no suitable and cost effective way to properly detect without removing
the insulation. The use of low frequency ultrasonic guided waves propagating along the pipe wall is
potentially a very attractive solution to this problem. The pipe acts as a waveguide, which as a
consequence aids in longer propagation of guided waves without considerable attenuation, thus
rendering screening long pipe lengths in a single shot. Use of long range UT is advantageous in a number
of specific situations: 1. Inspection of coated pipe by exposing a small area around the circumference of
the pipe on which to fit the transducers, it is possible to inspect coated or insulated pipe without
stripping the coating from the entire pipe length. 2. Inspecting high altitude pipe racks by placing a ring
of transducers around an elevated pipe and using LRUT to inspect lengths of pipe removes the need to
construct extensive scaffolding along the pipe to perform a full inspection. 3. Inspecting buried pipe. In
some instances, over-ground pipelines intersect roads. Here, the roads are built up over the top of the
pipe, and the pipe is therefore buried. LRUT inspection techniques can inspect the entire length of the
pipe situated under the road without the need for excavation. However, there are some dis advantages
of LRUT while inspection heavily coated pipes, buried pipes, high viscous fluids and small pipe sections,
pipes having too much bends, valves sections etc. this paper discusses about our experience in
performing LRUT in some pipelines with various results showing advantages and disadvantages we
experienced during our study.

Keywords: Ultrasonic guided waves; wave modes; corrosion, coated pipe.