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An Introduction to Long-Range Screening Using Guided Waves

Guided wave testing (GW) is now a well-established method for pipeline inspection (Cawley et al., 2003). The method exploits mechanical stress waves that are guided along the wall of the pipe and can travel long distances, so it rapidly provides close to 100% coverage. A transducer injects a wave signal at a chosen location on the line and then receives echoes returning from any features or discontinu-ities. The arrival time of the echoes indicates the distance of these reflectors from the transducer. A single test can cover a range of 50 m or more. Early long-range guided wave inspection applications focused on the detection of corrosion in straight aboveground lines. Such lines could be inspected by conventional means, but the attraction of using guided waves was much-improved inspection speed and the assurance of 100% coverage. As experience was gained, the method was developed to be practical for more complex applications, including road crossings, buried lines, subsea lines, coated lines, and complex geometries (Sabet-Sharghi et al., 2010; Rose et al., 1994). In some of these cases there is no alternative inspection method, so the use of guided waves avoids expensive invasive investigations such as excavation.


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