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Project Outline

The Proposed Solution

The Proposed SolutionThe TestPEP project seeks to develop effective phased array ultrasonic NDE procedures, techniques and equipment for the volumetric examination of pipe-to-pipe and pipe-to-fitting (elbows, bends, reducers, tees) butt and socket joints in various plastic pipe materials and diameters between 90 and 1000mm, and determine the significance of flaw types and sizes in relation to service requirements. This will lead to a longer average service life of plastics pipe systems and lower leakage rates, resulting in reduced risk of serious accidents and pollution, which in turn will lead to significant economic benefits, as more widespread use of these materials occurs.

The ultrasonic system developed will be rugged, easy to operate and will solve the very challenging technical problems of ultrasound transmission into plastics. Phased array probes can collect ultrasound data very rapidly and the inspection will be performed with a single pass around the weld without any mechanical axial movement. This simplified mechanical concept will solve many of the required economic and ergonomic challenges. The ultrasonic instrument will be a black box, with no ventilation holes and a simple ethernet connection to download the recorded data and to provide the necessary robustness for the harsh environment in which plastics pipes are often installed. In addition, the inspection system will provide a simple pass/fail output so that it can be deployed economically by normal pipe laying teams. This development will require flaw analysis algorithms to be implanted into the instrument.

The development will be made by manufacturing welded joints containing known flaws. The NDE data will be analysed to determine the limits of flaw detection for each technique. In parallel, the significance of flaw size and quantity will be established in relation to service requirements. This will be achieved by long-term mechanical testing of joints containing known flaws, and comparison with results for welds containing no flaws.