Bats have inspired scientists to create a new diagnostic method for pipes

The use of volatile
mice several wavelengths for a confident echolocation inspired scientists to
the development of a new method of diagnostics the damages of pipelines, which
based on the combination of two sensing techniques: using neutrons and
gamma-radiation. The new approach will facilitate the inspection of hard-to-reach
pipes, including underground and covered with an insulating layer, write the authors in
the journal Scientific Reports.

Corrosion, cracks or defects in steel pipes significantly increase
the probability of pipeline leaks, including oil or gas. To minimize the chances of such events presenting risks in
the field of ecology, economy and public health, requires
timely detection of such flaws.

Most
common methods of diagnosis are based on the irradiation of pipelines
electromagnetic or sound waves. Such effects help to identify
most sudden changes in thickness steel — primary token encountered
damage. However, in some cases, the use of such methods is difficult:
in particular, it is thus difficult to inspect buried underground pipe or covered with a layer of
the insulation coating.

Researchers from
Britain under the leadership of Malcolm Joyce (Malcolm Joyce) of Lancaster
the University has developed a new diagnostic Protocol that relies on
the irradiation of the focused streams of neutrons and gamma rays, and the reflected signal is recorded in the backscattering mode. This choice couples the probing
excitations allows to obtain complementary information on the state of the steel
products as neutrons interact with the nuclei of small mass,
for example, carbon, which is a lot plastics, and gamma rays more
sensitive to metals.

In developing the new
method of the survey the authors were inspired by bats, which are for hunting and
navigation in the air don’t just publish, and catch reflected from the object ultrasound,
but combined oscillations at several frequencies, which allows to obtain
additional information.

Demonstration of new techniques
was made using fast neutrons (energy of several MeV) and
gamma ray (energy 662 Kev) sources that include isotopes
California-252 cesium-137. Both signals were recorded with the same liquid
the scintillator, but processing in real time allow to divide the generated
different particle event. As samples were used
high-carbon steel of various thickness, which in some experiments were
concrete plates or layers of thick polyethylene for initiali typical materials cover the pipes.

In the end, the authors were able
to confirm the efficiency of the method: it successfully identified a thinning of the pipe diameter
40 inches of 25-millimeter steel. The results were in good
agreement with the results of numerical simulation of the process. The researchers also
showed that concrete or plastic insulation with a thickness of one centimeter does not stop to analyze the thickness of the steel.

Earlier, then physicists have adapted the use of ultrasound to study the pipes of a very small size of carbon nanotubes. About the technology of construction of monolithic structures accelerated pace we wrote in a material “more valves”.

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