12:46 GMT +320 February 2019
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    Pipes are loaded onto a vessel in the northern German port of Mukran for transshipment to a storage yard

    Researchers Invent a Way to Protect Underwater Pipes

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    Scientists at Tomsk Polytechnic University have proven the effectiveness of phased antenna arrays to detect leaks in underwater pipelines. The article on this research was published in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering.

    Oil and gas are transported from remote regions in Russia to Europe primarily via a pipe. During transport, the pipelines often cross water: rivers, lakes, swamplands and reservoirs. In addition, oil is pumped from the continental shelve in the sea.

    The total length and the operating time of the main pipelines are increasing every year, so the number of accidents that can irrevocably damage the environment and the economy is also increasing.

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    The leak detection tools that are available today have two important drawbacks: first, low detection efficiency, second, limited ability to locate a leak.

    Scientists at Tomsk Polytechnic University have designed a method to control the integrity of underwater pipelines using data from acoustic signals that show a high ability to find and locate a leak and visualize the acoustic field online.

    "We are proposing a method of passive leak detection for underwater pipelines by means of phased antenna arrays. Today, the advantage of these arrays is obvious: high productivity based on electronic scanning and detection accuracy due to the application of a large number of scanning frequencies from the same instrument," says Irina Bolotina, one of the researchers. Bolotina is a senior lecturer at the Electronic Engineering Department at the Engineering School of Non-Destructive Testing and Security (Tomsk Polytechnic University).

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    The researchers propose using a new method of signal processing to increase phased antenna array resolution. The method uses element-related multiplication and the addition of the output signals from individual array transducers.

    "Our processing method provides twice as much resolution in the detection system as traditional signal processing methods," Bolotina adds.

    This method is protected by the Russian patent office. The research also includes the layout of a passive acoustic locator. It provided high-resolution images in real-time measurement during tests.

    Tomsk Polytechnic University is a participant in the Russian federal Project 5-100. This project is aimed at funding relevant scientific researches, stimulating the development of cooperation between university scientists and industry, and increasing the scientific and research potential of Russian universities.

    gas, oil, protection, pipes
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