Large-scale pipeline environmental testing for Hydrocarbon Leak detection using WrapSense

Proceedings Publication Date:

01 Apr 2021
Rodrigo Rueda
Rodrigo Rueda, Steve Edmondson
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WrapSense technology is based on a novel Nano-Composite Coating material capable of detecting the slightest concentration of liquid hydrocarbons in direct contact with it, making it a highly sensitive technology for detecting leakages in Oil & Gas applications. The sensor functions by continuously monitoring the electrical resistance of the Nano-Composite, and reporting significant changes in this resistance. The sensors are manufactured by applying the Nano-Composite material onto a flexible but resistant backing material ideal for adapting to pipelines. 

This paper shows the test results from WrapSense, an InnovateUK collaborative project for R&D and validation of novel technologies for leakage detection in pipelines. For laboratory test, the sensors were subjected to 14 thermal cycles ranging from 20C to 140C resembling extreme operating conditions such as in transportation pipelines in deserts. The test were carried out according to BS EN 60068-2-14:2009 standard in a controlled chamber. The sensor’s electrical resistance was monitored during the thermal exposure with no relevant change in basal resistance. Later, the sensors were exposed to 1mL droplet of FuelSafe Diesel. As a result, sensor’s sensitivity increased due to the heat exposure; significant changes of resistance were obtained after 5 seconds of the drop rather than 60 seconds as compared with regular sensors.

The large-scale test entailed a 6-month exposure of the sensors to representative weather conditions in the UK following BS EN 60068-2-39:2016 standard. A professional wireless weather station was installed adjacent to the sensors, recoding temperature, rainfall, humidity, moisture, wind speed and direction. In addition, the sensors were revised every month with a conventional 1mL droplet. No significant damage to the sensor was observed nor considerable performance compromise due to high humidity or heavy rainfall. Therefore, the technology is validated for TRL 6 and seeking further technology development.

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