Applications of a Compact NDT Shearography System Specially Designed for the Petroleum and Gas Industry

The increasing use of composite materials keeps happening in several industrial sectors, including the oil and gas industry. The use of fiber reinforced plastic pipes and fittings as well as the use of composite materials to protect and/or repair corroded metal structures are currently the most widespread applications in this sector. In the oil and gas industry, defects in composite materials can arise during the application of the repairs in the field or the pipe assembly stage. It leads to the development of equipment and methods to inspect these composite structures in order to prevent accidents with people and environmental disasters. Shearography is an optical method which uses laser interferometry to measure deformation gradients at the surface of a structure. Speckle patterns produced with the composite structure in stressed and unstressed states are subtracted and a resulting image containing a fringe pattern reveals changes in the deformation gradient of the surface. Basically, anomalies in a regular fringe pattern indicate the locations of the damaged regions in the composite repairs/structures. This work presents a very compact shearography system specially designed to the inspection of pipelines in the oil and gas industry. Different inspection results with in the petroleum industry applications achieved in laboratory and in the field are also shown. The current status of this nondestructive inspection technique, its challenges and the next steps in its development are discussed.

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