Oil & Gas

UCNDE's research activities cover both upstream and downstream production. UCNDE research spans inspection, imaging and SHM. 

Permanently Installed Guided Wave Tomography

Accurate thickness mapping of large engineering structures is critical to assess the integrity and residual life of mechanical components subject to erosion or corrosion damage. However, in many industrial settings, it is not possible to access the region of interest directly, e.g. because of remote location or due to the presence of physical obstacles. Guided ultrasonic waves offer a promising approach to remote wall thickness loss estimation thanks to their ability to propagate over a long distance along a structure. Our research focuses on the development of a highly sensitive guided wave tomography system based on an innovative array technology and advanced inversion schemes. This technology is now being commercialized through Cincinnati NDE, Ltd. a start-up company from UC.

Guided ultrasonic wave tomography of a pipe bend exposed to environmental conditions: A long-term monitoring experiment

F Simonetti and MY Alqaradawi, NDT & E International 105, 1-10, 2019

Guided Wave Tomography of Pipe Bends

AJ Brath, F Simonetti, PB Nagy, and G Instanes,  IEEE Trans. Ultras. Ferr. Freq. Contr. 64, 847-858, 2017

Long Range Microwave Inspection of Corrosion Under Insulation

Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is a widespread problem in the oil and gas industry. Often pipes are fitted with a layer of insulation material protected by an external metallic cladding to maintain the fluid that they carry at constant temperature. Water infiltration through the cladding can cause corrosion of the inner pipe, therefore it is necessary to inspect pipeline for CUI. The inspection can be prohibitively expensive due to the need for removing the cladding and insulation to access the pipe with conventional NDE methods. We have developed a new approach that is based on the rationale that water is a necessary precursor to CUI and therefore it is desirable to detect it in order to prevent CUI formation in the first instance. Thanks to the conductivity of the pipe and cladding, the insulated pipeline naturally forms a large coaxial waveguide which supports the propagation of microwave signals along the insulation layer; the latter being typically transparent to microwave radiation. The microwave signal, which is excited by an array of antennas inserted in the insulation, travels along the pipeline and is reflected back towards the array upon impinging on an area of wet insulation. By timing the journey of the reflected signal, the location of the water volume can be determined according to the conventional radar principle.

An Experimental Model for Guided Microwave Backscattering from Wet Insulation in Pipelines

SM Bejjavarapu and F Simonetti, Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, 33, 583–596, 2014

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital representation of a real engineering asset. The digital twin is updated to reflect the state of the real asset. For structural integrity purposes. Research into digital twins at the Cincinnati Research Center in NDE focusses on two main areas: probabilistic structural integrity assessments and NDE data integration. Structural integrity assessments must be probabilistic to acknowledge the inherent uncertainty and stochastic nature of damage progression. We must then use operational data and NDE/SHM to validate and refine those structural integrity predictions, honing into highly accurate assessments. The Center researches state-of-the-art probabilistic structural integrity assessments and develops methods to integrate NDE/SHM data to provide real-time, uncertainty-quantified, diagnosis and prognosis.

Rate based structural health monitoring using permanently installed sensors

J Corcoran, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol: 473, 2017