Crack Assessment with Inline Inspection and Nondestructive Evaluation Technologies

Among the many techniques used to ensure the continued safe operation of pipelines, inline inspection (ILI) tools are a common, reliable means to acquire integrity data. To assess the widest range of potential integrity threats, multiple ILI inspection technologies are often combined onto a single platform. One such technology is spiral electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT). This paper will discuss how advanced EMAT, in the context of a multiple dataset (MDS) inspection platform, is being paired with non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods to provide holistic integrity assessments on crack and crack-like features. Equipped with specialized sensor architecture and hardware, spiral EMAT adds significant value to the ILI process. Extensive simulation and lab experimentation with acoustic wave propagation have resulted in the technology’s ability to detect, classify, and size various threats, including crack/crack-like anomalies. As part of this more comprehensive approach to pipeline inspection, as well as the need to collect the highest quality and most accurate data, the ILI EMAT results are then verified using NDE methods, including: Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT); Automated Ultrasonic Testing (AUT); Magnetic Particle Testing (MT). This paper includes overviews of the individual technologies used, the synergies gained from combined use, as well as the laboratory tests and results.

References
  1. K. Lee, T. Nelligan, “The Use of Magnetostrictive EMAT Transducers on Oxide Scaled Boiler Tubes,” WCNDT 2004, Montreal Canada, Aug. 30, 2004.
  2. M. Hirao, H Ogi, EMATS for Science and Industry Smith, Norwell, Ma, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, pages 48-49.
  3. J. Simek, J. Ludlow, H. Flora, S. Ali, H. Gao, "Pipeline Inspection Tool With Double Spiral EMAT Sensor Array" USPTO Patent Application, Pub. No.: US 2010/0327858 A1.
  4. Shanker Shrestha, Alan Smith, James Simek, “In-Line Inspection EMAT Utilizing an Oblique Field,” NACE International Corrosion 2012 Conference, C2012-0001318.
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