Beam Theory for Subsea Pipelines: Analysis and Practical Applications

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However, the electromagnetic ultrasonic signal has lower amplitude and higher sensitivity to the noise in the surroundings [ 63 , 64 ]. The SH wave is a horizontal polarization shear wave, which travels inside the pipe wall and can be used to detect any crack and size the crack depth. The SH wave has some special advantages.

When it is reflected at the boundary, the reflected wave does not cause the conversion of waveform, but contains only the SH wave. When it is used in measurement, the signal analysis is simplified. The surface wave RH wave travels only in the inner surface of the pipe wall and can be used to identify the defects of inner and outer surfaces. The Lamb wave transmits into the pipe wall directly, and travels circumferentially inside the pipe, so it can be used to measure the wall thickness of the pipe, and distinguish cracks from no damage.

Now, this technology has been proved to be effective to detect the stress corrosion crack and longitudinal weld crack of gas pipelines [ 66 , 67 , 68 ]. GE PII and Rosen have developed the mature in-line inspection equipment [ 69 , 70 ], and some Chinese universities have been engaging in studies on the technology and equipment of EMAT inspection for pipeline defect, including Tianjin University [ 71 ], Shenyang University of Technology [ 72 , 73 ], Beijing University of Chemical Technology [ 74 ] and Tsinghua University [ 63 ].

The inspection of a girth weld crack is similar to that of a longitudinal weld crack, but it is relatively more difficult to inspect the circumferential crack. PetroChina Pipeline Company and PII carried out the feasibility study on the EMAT inspection technology and equipment for pipeline girth weld defects, and employed the axially arranged EMAT converter based on the characteristics of a pipeline girth weld defect [ 75 ]. To guarantee the full circumferential coverage of pipeline girth weld, pairs of EMAT converters are distributed along the circumference Figure 16 to solve the problem of potential noise caused by the number of collection channels and the crosstalk between converters.

Moreover, sufficient counts per revolution must be realized, and a minimum crack length of the inspected object is utilized to optimize the width of the EMAT converters. Now, international studies on electromagnetic ultrasonic signal focus on the suitable signal processing methods, such as, wavelet conversion, to eliminate noise and identify the defect. The band-pass filter based on discrete Fourier transform can be utilized to effectively eliminate electronic noise, but this method becomes ineffective when the frequency of the input signal varies with time, and loses the information on time domain of signal peak [ 76 ].

The time frequency signal processing method, e. The receiving signal of electromagnetic ultrasonic technology can be regarded as a non-stationary signal due to the overlapping of noise, while the amplitude and phase, etc. EMAT signal processing means to extract the single sine signal from the given multi-component input signals [ 78 , 79 ].

To extract a non-stationary signal, reference [ 80 ] proposed a nonlinear and adaptive time-domain signal processing method based on traditional Fourier transform. Yang Han et al. The girth weld defect inspection and sizing based on signal amplitude should be further studied. Nevertheless, the reliability of EMAT inspection for girth weld crack defects has not been publicly reported.

Hence, the reliability of EMAT inspection for pipeline axial cracks is introduced for reference. TransCanada Calgary, AB, Canada Pipeline generalized the data of electromagnetic ultrasonic inspection for axial cracks and stress corrosion cracks SCC in 13 pipelines from to [ 82 ]. Nevertheless, the length involved in in-line inspection was the total length of the crack subject to crack cluster or interaction, so it was more difficult to determine the length of the crack than the depth.

The length of the crack is not very sensitive to integrity, but further work should be carried out to analyze and improve the accuracy of inspection. The EMAT inspection was highly accurate and increased along with defect depth, but the inspection results tended to be overestimated.

Any 2 mm deep and 40 mm long crack could be highly identified, but any blunt crack with a depth of 1—2 mm could not be highly identified. The inspection results were not reliable for cracks of less than 1 mm before the surface. In , Pipeline Research Council International PRCI initiated a program for assessment of EMAT in-line inspection performance, and employed the technologies including magnetic particle, ultrasonic inspection, phase-array ultrasonic imaging and crack interruption to compare the size of a pipeline defect from EMAT in-line inspection with the data of field excavation inspection [ 84 ].

When the actual crack depth was 2. In recent years, remote field eddy current RFEC inspection has been an important technology for natural gas pipeline girth weld crack defect inspection. Now, the application of this technology in natural gas pipeline crack inspection has attracted attention from domestic and overseas pipeline operation companies and inspection companies. Electromagnetic eddy current in-line inspection technology can effectively receive the magnetic field that passes the tube wall and returns to the inside tube by employing the excitation coil or placing a measurement coil with a certain distance from the excitation coil, so as to effectively detect the interior wall defect of the metal tube.

The inspection principle is as shown in Figure 17 [ 86 ]. In this area, the amplitude and phase of the electromagnetic eddy current signal decrease at a very low speed, which is the same inside and outside the tube.

The phase delay of induced electric potential is roughly directly proportional to the thickness of the tube wall that it passes through, and it can be calculated approximately by employing the phase formula for the one-dimensional skin effect for calculation [ 87 ]. Unlike the common eddy current testing which is the impedance plane analysis form, the remote field eddy current RFEC technique reduces problems such as lift-off.

With the same inspection sensitivity to crack defects on the inner and outer surfaces of pipelines, it can effectively overcome the limitations of the common eddy current inspection method, so it is more suitable for the inspection of natural gas pipeline surface cracks. In the stress corrosion crack inspection, the technology has been verified to excel other inspection methods in the possibility of detection POD , lift-off value modification and speed modification, etc. RFEC inspection has the same sensitivity to the defects in the interior and exterior walls of pipeline, but it is still a technical problem to distinguish these defects [ 89 ].

The RFEC technology with the traditional sine excitation also has some limitations, such as, weak signal, slow speed and low rate, and the sine excitation signal causes very high power consumption at sensors [ 92 , 93 ]. Based on the problems in the traditional RFEC technology, pulsed RFEC technology has been developed recently, which allows one to place the inspection coil in the transitional area closer to the excitation coil. In this new technology, the detection signal is the superimposition of the pulsed magnetic field component and the eddy current magnetic field component, which can realize the effect of the far-field eddy current detection, and the detection signal amplitude increases, which is advantageous for the signal characteristic extraction.

Shenyang University of Technology [ 94 ] and National University of Defense Technology [ 95 ] have carried out some studies on the pulsed RFEC inspection equipment, but RFEC inspection is mainly applied in the inspection of pipeline axial cracks at present. Electromagnetic RFEC inspection is carried out to detect imperfections based on the signal phase difference rather than signal amplitude, and the phase difference between signals has an approximate linear relationship with defect depth [ 96 ].

Wu Dehui et al. Liu Chunyan [ 99 ] performed the simulation analysis on the RFEC inspection of axial and circumferential cracks and pitting defects, employed the phase difference and amplitude variation curve to represent the symmetrical defects in the voltage planar polar diagram, and provided the basis for defect shape restructuring. Zhang Wei et al. By building a nonlinear polynomial inversion model, a Back-Propagation BP Neural Network inversion model based on one-dimensional search and optimization, and a support vector machine inversion model based on particle swarm search and optimization, they realized the quantification inversion from the waveform characteristics of inspection signal to the size of crack defect.

Liu Hongqing [ ] conducted the systematic finite element simulation for the pipeline RFEC defect magnetic field, and utilized a three-dimensional model to simulate the dent and crack defects that were not axially symmetric, so as to obtain three signal characteristics of dent crack and axial crack defect in different directions. Also, Liu analyzed how the signal characteristics of an axial defect related to its circumferential width, axial length and radial depth. The experiment was conducted to verify the quantitative assessment of length and depth for axial crack defects in the pipeline with the RFEC technology under pulse excitation, and effectively distinguish the defects in the full circumference inside and outside the pipe wall.

RFEC inspection technology can detect the defects on the surface of natural gas pipelines without being significantly affected by lift-off and eccentricity, etc. Nevertheless, the RFEC inspection signal is weak and slow, so its overall inspection efficiency is very low. For this reason, RFEC technology should be further studied in the future. Hence, these technologies are briefly described in the following sections.

Statoil [ ] has developed a new composite ultrasonic inspection technology to detect the girth weld crack defects of submarine pipeline, i. TOHO, a Japanese company [ ] and Tianjin University [ ] have taken the composite aperture focusing ultrasonic imaging technique as an ultrasonic processing method, and employed the point-by-point focusing method to achieve no variation of image resolution with location and depth. When the same array element sensor carrier of converter is employed, the composite aperture focusing method is utilized to obtain the rebuilt images with higher resolution, so as to provide a more reliable basis for the characterization and sizing of a defect.

Laser ultrasonic inspection is a new technology, popular in recent years.

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Ultrasonic waves are generated on the surface of the inspected work piece by pulsed laser beam irradiation. After changing the experimental parameters, the laser ultrasonic source can induce many kinds of guided waves, including longitudinal wave, lateral wave and surface wave. The ultrasonic signal can be generated by laser excitation and detected by the optical method, so it can realize completely contactless inspection and quick scan imaging, and facilitate the realization of nondestructive testing under adverse conditions, e.

Additionally, a mode-locking laser can be utilized to more easily obtain the ultrasonic pulse with the width similar to laser pulse, and its frequency band is much wider than the ultrasonic wave generated by a common converter. Hence, the defect inspection technology based on ultrasonic diffraction is very sensitive to the tiny cracks on the surface and near the surface of the inspected work piece, and has higher inspection accuracy than other nondestructive testing techniques [ ]. Moreover, this technology is also suitable for measuring the depth of other cracks, e.

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Intelligent Optical Systems has successfully applied this technology in the inspection of pipeline girth weld detects [ ]. Magnetostriction is an innate feature of ferromagnetic materials. The magnetostriction effect and its reverse effect can be utilized to generate and receive the ultrasonic guided waves inside ferromagnet. A magnetostriction sensor can be utilized to detect the crack, corrosion and other defects of wire rope, metal rod, pipe and plate [ , ].

Even if the air gap between the inspection probe and inspected pipe surface is relatively large, the magnetostriction sensor can also transmit and detect the guided waves, and themagnetostriction effect is very strong at the end of a crack. Thanks to the good characteristics of transmission and the same inspection sensitivity to defects on the inner and outer surfaces of pipeline, more and more nondestructive testing scholars at home and abroad have paid attention to the study on the application of magnetostriction in the quick inspection and crack identification of pipelines in recent years.

This paper analyzes the characteristics of long-distance transport pipeline girth weld defects, and summarizes the inspection principle, defect signal identification, defect sizing method and inspection reliability of existing girth weld defect in-line inspection technologies systematically, as well as the new technology of pipe defect in-line inspection. It is comprehensively concluded that:. Three-axis high-resolution MFL inspection technology can identify a lot of long-distance transport pipeline girth weld defects. It is highly adaptive and able to effectively detect the volumetric defects, but the accuracy of defect sizing is not high.

The future development will focus on improving the existing electromagnetic ultrasonic crack inspection and RFEC inspection, developing and applying new crack inspection technology and realizing the effective inspection of girth weld crack defects. Due to the complexity of the on-line inspection condition and the principle of detection technologyfor long-distance transport pipeline girth weld, it is very difficult to detect and quantify the girth weld defects. The irregular outline of girth weld, surface condition of pipeline and other factors have inevitable influence on the inspection and sizing of girth weld defects, and attention should be paid to the actual pipeline inspection factors during inspection data analysis and sizing.

At present, the finite element method and the neural network method are used to quantify the defects of girth welds, but the accuracy is far from satisfying the requirements. The type and sizing of defects need to be studied systematically. In order to improve the accuracy of pipeline defect inspection, the new technologies for contactless inspection have been applied in the in-line inspection of pipeline defects, including composite inspection, laser ultrasonic and magnetostriction.

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Published online Dec Vittorio M. Passaro, Academic Editor. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Oct 25; Accepted Dec This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Girth weld cracking is one of the main failure modes in oil and gas pipelines; girth weld cracking inspection has great economic and social significance for the intrinsic safety of pipelines.

Keywords: pipeline girth weld, defect, in-line inspection, magnetic flux leakage inspection, ultrasonic inspection, EMAT. Oil and Gas Pipeline Girth Weld On-Site Inspection The girth weld defects of oil and gas pipelines can be roughly classified into planar defects, volumetric defects and irregular shape defects. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. Figure 4. Figure 5. Figure 6. Figure 7. Inspection Principle and Signal Analysis The principle of defects detecting and sizing of MFL inspection equipment is based on the varying magnetic lines of defects on the pipeline Figure 8 ; it could obtain the location, type, shape, dimension and other information of defects through the identification and judgment of MFL data.

Figure 8. Schematic diagram of the magnetic flux leakage in-line inspection principle. Figure 9. Figure Three-axis magnetic flux leakage MFL signals of a girth weld defect. Defect Sizing Methods At present, a lot of research work has been done in the field of signal analysis and quantitative analysis of three-axis high-resolution MFL. Ultrasonic Inspection for Oil Transport Pipeline Girth Weld Cracks Ultrasonic crack inspection equipment can identify tiny cracks [ 47 , 48 ], stress corrosion cracks [ 49 ] and fatigue cracks [ 50 ], etc.

Inspection Principle and Signal Analysis Crack ultrasonic inspection equipment follows the principle of ultrasonic measurement based on pulse echo time technology. Defect Sizing Method Theoretically, the physical measurement of defect depth is conducted based on the number of sampling points. Inspection Reliability Liquid ultrasonic inspection technology achieves satisfying results in the inspection and defect sizing of axial cracks stress corrosion crack and fatigue crack in long-distance transport pipeline, so as to effectively lower the risk of an axial crack in the pipeline [ 9 , 58 , 59 , 60 ].

Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer Inspection of Natural Gas Pipeline Girth Weld Defects EMAT technology follows the principle of electromagnetic induction eddy current to generate ultrasonic waves, and its converter can be kept separate from the surface of the inspected object, and does not require any coupling medium. Inspection Principle EMAT inspection technology is also known as eddy current-acoustic inspection technology, and its inspection principle is presented in Figure 14 [ 61 ].


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The comparison of electromagnetic and piezoelectric ultrasonic testing. Allocation of EMAT inspection sensors for circumferential defects unit: mm. Signal Recognition and Defect Sizing Now, international studies on electromagnetic ultrasonic signal focus on the suitable signal processing methods, such as, wavelet conversion, to eliminate noise and identify the defect. Electromagnetic Eddy Current Inspection In recent years, remote field eddy current RFEC inspection has been an important technology for natural gas pipeline girth weld crack defect inspection.

Inspection Principle Electromagnetic eddy current in-line inspection technology can effectively receive the magnetic field that passes the tube wall and returns to the inside tube by employing the excitation coil or placing a measurement coil with a certain distance from the excitation coil, so as to effectively detect the interior wall defect of the metal tube. Schematic diagram of the electromagnetic eddy current inspection principle. Defect Sizing Method Electromagnetic RFEC inspection is carried out to detect imperfections based on the signal phase difference rather than signal amplitude, and the phase difference between signals has an approximate linear relationship with defect depth [ 96 ].

Composite Ultrasonic Inspection Statoil [ ] has developed a new composite ultrasonic inspection technology to detect the girth weld crack defects of submarine pipeline, i. Laser Ultrasonic Inspection Laser ultrasonic inspection is a new technology, popular in recent years. Magnetostriction Inspection Magnetostriction is an innate feature of ferromagnetic materials. Conclusions and Prospects This paper analyzes the characteristics of long-distance transport pipeline girth weld defects, and summarizes the inspection principle, defect signal identification, defect sizing method and inspection reliability of existing girth weld defect in-line inspection technologies systematically, as well as the new technology of pipe defect in-line inspection.

It is comprehensively concluded that: Three-axis high-resolution MFL inspection technology can identify a lot of long-distance transport pipeline girth weld defects. Conflicts of Interest The authors declare no conflict of interest. References 1. Wang T. Current status and prospect of inline inspection technologies for defects in girth weld of oil and gas pipeline. Oil Gas Storage Transp. Feng Q. Practice and cogitation on pipeline integrity management.

Luo H. Welded Pipe Tube. Wang Y. Research on X-ray detection technology of pressure pipeline containing medium. Huang L. Automatic UT phase array technology for girth welding of pipeline. Han X. Yeung P. Assessing the probability of detecting crack features using ultrasonic in-line inspection tool run results and excavation data; Proceedings of the 10th International Pipeline Conference; Calgary, AB, Canada.

Sutherland J. Wang F. Desjardins G. Signal analysis and application of tri-axial MFL sensors for pipeline in-line inspection. Three-axis high-resolution MFL internal inspection technology for in-service pipeline. Clapham L. Feasibility analysis of internal detection technology for crack in spiral seam pipeline.

Cui H. Origin analysis to the cracking of spiral welds in a crude oil pipeline. Ireland R. Liu F. Ting W. Nikolova N. Ding Z. The simulation analysis and quantity model of pipeline defect signals in magnetic flux leakage testing. Hari K.

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IET Sci. Amineh R. IEEE Trans. Yang L. Research on intelligent pipeline magnetic flux leakage tester. Research on high precision magnetic flux leakage in-line detection system. Non Destr. Shenyang University of Technology; Shenyang, China: Park G. Numerical simulation on magnetic flux leakage evaluation at high speed. NDTE Int. Ribes-Gomez E. Christen R. Automatic flaw detection in NDE signals using a panel of neural networks. Kyungtae H. Joshi A. Adaptive wavelets for characterizing magnetic flux leakage signals from pipeline inspection.

Ramuhalli P. Electromagnetic NDE signal inversion by function-approximation neural networks. Jiang Q. Analysis of the magnetic flux leakage field of pipeline defect based on radial basis function neural network. Spectrum entropy and its application in characteristics abstraction of magnetic flux leakage signals.

Tianjin Univ. Wei M. Two dimensional profile reconstruction and process technology for Pipeline defect. Acta Pet. Study on wavelet compression technique for magnetic flux leakage image of oil and gas pipeline defects.

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Signal processing technology in oil-gas pipeline magnetic flux leakage inspection. Shenyang Polytech. Quantitative recognition of pipeline defects based on neural network and data fusion. Salama M. Paper No. Bauer S. Barkdull L. Ohl S. Bates N. Xiang X. Masnata A. Neural network classification of flaws detected by ultrasonic means. Roy A. Material classification through neural networks. Zhao J.

Beam Theory for Subsea Pipelines: Analysis and Practical Applications

Dai B. Yang Z. Chen G. South China Univ. Slaughter M. Kresic W. Wilkie G. Beuker T. Huang S. Wang S. Yeomans M. Hilvert M. Kania R. Batte A. Chao G. Tianjin University; Tianjin, China: Zhang J.