Acoustic models to view pipe health
Water utilities commonly diagnose the health of water pipeline infrastructure by sending a pressure pulse through the pipe and analysing reflections to locate anomalies such as degradation or blockages.
Sharper acoustic pulses improve the accuracy of this method; however, this leads to complicated sound fields associated with high frequency sounds used to excite the pipe.
The aim of this project is to model acoustic wave propagation through buried water pipes at high frequencies using finite element analysis and understand the behaviour. Finite element models consisting of rigid-walled pipe, flexible-pipe and water-pipe-soil categories, were simulated for a harmonic source using ANSYS and post-processed using MATLAB to obtain time-domain impulse responses. Models for the rigid and flexible pipes were validated against theory with errors of 0.2% and 2% respectively.
The models explain practical observations from the field such as the criticality of sensor placement.
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