In-Pipe Water Leak Detection Based on Pressure Gradient

Technology #14660

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FIG. 1 a is a cross-sectional view of a pipe illustrating the location of a leak.FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention. Note that a pressure gradient sensor may be incorporated in the skin of the floating body 20.FIG. 3 a is a perspective view of the ring structure used in an embodiment of the invention.  FIG. 3 b is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the invention that uses the movement of a diaphragm to indicate the presence of a leak.FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the invention u g elastic capacitor plates at the diaphragm ends. Fixed plates are inside the ring ducts.  FIG. 5 a is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the invention using a fixed and an elastic capacitor plate. The diaphragm itself is the capacitor.   FIG. 5 b is a cross-sectional view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 a. FIG. 6 a is an illustration of the distribution of piezoelectric sensors used in an embodiment invention.  FIG. 6 b is a schematic illustration of another distribution for an embodiment of a piezoelectric sensor for use in the invention.  FIG. 6 c is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the invention using piezoelectric sensors.
Categories
Inventors
Professor Kamal Youcef-Toumi
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
External Link (meche.mit.edu)
Atia Khalifa
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
External Link (www.kfupm.edu.sa)
Mohamed Habib
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Dimitrios Chatzigeorgiou
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
External Link (www.linkedin.com)
Rached Ben-Mansour
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

In-pipe leak detection based on pressure gradient

US Patent 9,335,233
Publications
Design of a Novel In-Pipe Reliable Leak Detector
IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Vol. 20, NO. 2, APRIL 2015
MIT Leak Detector: Modeling and Analysis Toward Leak-Observability
IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Vol. PP, Issue 99

Applications

This invention relates to leak detection and more particularly to in-pipe leak detection in which a sensor detects the local pressure gradient near a leak.

Problem Addressed

Water leakage can reach 30% on average of the water transported across the water distribution networks. Current water leakage detection methods can be expensive, time consuming, not accurate enough, have noise interference problems, depend on pipe material and the pipe location must be known. The widely used acoustic and noise correlators are not very effective with plastic pipes.

Technology

This invention proposes a leakage detection method that measures pressure gradients at a leak site, which is more dependable. On-site leakage detection cannot be used in the center of the pipe due to drop-off of the signal, so in this device there is a concentric ring pressure sensor that travels down the pipeline millimeters from the inner pipe surface, which carries electronics and communication devices.

Advantages

  • The closeness of the sensor to the leak location enables capturing small leaks and makes the detection process independent of pipe material, depth and other environmental effects
  • Able to survey long distance pipeline in a network
  • Surveying portions of the network that are difficult to access by other techniques
  • The device can be remotely controlled inside the network