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Blind Trial Validation of a Guided Wave Structural Health Monitoring System for Pipework

Guided wave permanently installed monitoring systems (PIMS) are potentially very attractive for ensuring the integrity of critical structures, particu-larly where access for frequent NDT is difficult, but their performance has not yet been satisfactorily validated. This paper presents the results of a blind trial of a guided wave PIMS system on an L-shaped 8 in. (0.2 m) diameter pipe section with an overall length of 10 m, a 1.5D bend, and a total of three butt welds. Readings were taken at 30 min intervals over a period of roughly 40 days while the pipe temperature was cycled between ambient temperature and 60 °C, during which six simulated corrosion discontinuities were introduced. The data was sent in batches to an evaluation team who had no knowledge of the discontinuity locations or the schedule for their introduction; they reported on the data before being given the next batch. A new independent component analysis (ICA) scheme was used to process the measurement data, and all the discontinuities were successfully located with no false calls. It was found that the detection sensitivity was about a factor of five better than that typically obtained in one-off guided wave tests. Permanently installed guided wave monitoring systems are therefore a very promising technology for monitoring critical infrastructure.

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