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Project Outline

Technical problem

Technical ProblemAlthough there are European standards for the volumetric inspection of plastic pipe welds there is a lack of commercially-available systems for inspecting these welds. All large diameter steel pipes for the transportation of both natural gas and LPG are subject to volumetric inspection. The current best practise for inspection of these steel welds uses ultrasonic phased array NDE. From this evidence it is clear that the plastic pipe industry is out of step and lagging well behind the steel pipe industry. Why are there no inspection systems for plastics pipes? The main reason is because plastic is a difficult material to inspect due to its very specific physical properties of high attenuation and low ultrasonic velocity.

To fully cover the weld inspection area it will be necessary to investigate and solve the challenge of generating angled ultrasonic beams in these highly attenuative materials. In addition, the inspection equipment must be able to withstand the harsh environment in which plastics pipes are often installed and simple to operate by technicians who are not used to delicate instrumentation.