Sensor Technologies



Detect Pipeline Bending and Buckling:

The Challenge

Buried pipelines are subject to bending deformations from ground movement. Above ground pipelines, on unstable slopes, are also susceptible to bending and buckling forces. The loss of product, damage to the environment, and safety hazards to nearby communities are risks associated with pipeline failure due to large bending strains or buckling. Unfortunately, pipeline sections prone to such distortions are usually in remote locations and are difficult to inspect. Periodic in-line inspection ( ILI), although costly, can locate areas of the pipeline where large bending deformations have occurred; however, the tool may become jammed in the pipe.

Can a cost-effective sensor system be installed with remote wireless capabilities to monitor pipeline sections prone to slope instabilities and ground movement? Can this system detect bending deformations prior to the occurrence of pipe buckling? Can this system operate continuously, without interrupting product flow? Is the system safe?

The Solution

FOX-TEK offers an engineered solution to address these concerns—FT fiber optic sensors. FT sensors are installed on pipelines, generally in regions where severe bending or buckling are expected to occur, without the need to disrupt product flow. Sensor configurations are available for monitoring areas of buried or above ground pipelines that are 100 m or more in length, or for localized areas as small as 8 cm diameter. Tests prove that the FT sensors measure both bending strains and pre-buckling deformations of a pipe, well into the plastic strain range for pipeline grade steels. A system including FOX-TEK software determines the wall deformation from sensor data collected with an FTI-series monitor. Real-time continuous monitoring with solar/batteries or on-site periodic monitoring are options available to the user. The FOX-TEK software is configurable with pre-set threshold values that, when reached, activate an e-mail alarm signal that is sent to various personnel.

Summary of Benefits

  • Real time integrity-based maintenance is possible
  • Sleeve installation can be performed prior to pipe buckling
  Cost Savings
  • Detection of pre-buckling state of pipe section reduces risk failure
  • Eliminate loss of product
  • Reduced risk of buckling-induced ruptures
  • Lowered risk for near-by communities
  • Non-electrical sensors
  • Safe for use in flammable environment
  • Reduced risk of pollution from buckling failures