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Design of a Novel In-Pipe Reliable Leak Detector

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3 Author(s)
Chatzigeorgiou, D. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Youcef-Toumi, K. ; Ben-Mansour, R.

Leakage is the major factor for unaccounted losses in every pipe network around the world (oil, gas, or water). In most cases, the deleterious effects associated with the occurrence of leaks may present serious economical and health problems. Therefore, leaks must be quickly detected, located, and repaired. Unfortunately, most state-of-the-art leak detection systems have limited applicability, are neither reliable nor robust, while others depend on the user experience. In this paper, we present a new in-pipe leak detection system. It performs autonomous leak detection in pipes and, thus, eliminates the need for the user experience. This paper focuses on the detection module and its main characteristics. Detection in based on the presence of a pressure gradient in the neighborhood of the leak. Moreover, the proposed detector can sense leaks at any angle around the circumference of the pipe with only two sensors. We validate the concepts by building a prototype and evaluate the system's performance under real conditions in an experimental laboratory setup.

Published in:

Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 2 )