Robotic Apparatus and Process for Pipeline Rehabilitation

Technology #13758

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FIG. 1 includes perspective views of an embodiment of the inventionFIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of a suitable patch showing surface profiling to ensure favorable fluid action while providing a radial force.FIG. 3 shows cross-sectional views of the invention including O-rings in this embodiment.  FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of a robotic vehicle moving a patch to a leak location.FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of the robotic device according to an embodiment of the invention.  FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of a computer monitoring and controlling a robotic vehicle.FIG. 7 shows several views of the robotic device inserting the patch at a leak location and then withdrawing after the leak is sealed.  FIG. 8 shows a noncircular cross section of an embodiment of the patch of the invention used to repair pipes that do not have a circular cross section.
Professor Kamal Youcef-Toumi
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
External Link (
Professor Muhammad Hawwa
Department of Mechanical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Robotic system for pipeline rehabilitation

US Patent 8,783,297


An application for this technology is in pipeline rehabilitation.

Problem Addressed

Leaks that occur within pipelines underground may not be as accessible using current technologies.


This invention presents the design of a robotic device for patching pipeline leaks. A stretchable curing patch is designed for the pipe which ensures that it fits perfectly within the pipe. The patch is driven by a robotic device which carries a camera and can be controlled wirelessly. The curing patch can be designed to fit both circular and non-circular pipe geometry.


  • Fixing the pipeline from the inside is a more secure solution for pipeline leakage.
  • The whole process is robotic which can be controlled wirelessly.