Solid State Sensor for Inspection of Prestressed Concrete Pressure Pipe

EPA Contract Number: EPD13027
Title: Solid State Sensor for Inspection of Prestressed Concrete Pressure Pipe
Investigators: Rensing, Noa
Small Business: Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 15, 2013 through November 14, 2013
Project Amount: $80,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water



An important type of water pipe is the Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP). There are thousands of miles of PCCP installed in the United States in sections with lengths up to 20 feet and diameter from 2 to 14 feet. The large size of the pipes, the thickness of the concrete (up to 10 inches) and the composite construction, which involves concrete, high-strength prestressing steel wires and sheet steel cylinders, make inspection particularly challenging with existing technology.

Degradation in PCCP is characterized by corrosion that breaks one or more prestressing wires thus weakening the pipe until it fails and a leak is created. Leaks are among the largest sources of water loss and technology for detecting damage in the prestressing wires in PCCP would provide a major environmental benefit for the nation, its water resources and water utilities. Existing sensor technology, based on decades-old eddy current test systems, lacks the sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio needed to make rapid, high-reliability inspections of PCCP.

RMD proposes a new, highly optimized probe for PCCP that uses a solid-state, field sensitive sensor offering high sensitivity and low noise at low frequencies combined with a novel, low-noise eddy current source to greatly improve PCCP inspection.

In Phase I, RMD will develop a prototype probe for PCCP, measure the response of the probe to PCCP samples with and without defects to the prestressing wires, and compare the results with those obtained using a state-or-the-art ECT system for PCCP. A successful Phase I/II SBIR program will lead to improved PCCP inspection, less water loss and improved environmental safeguards for drinking water. Commercialization will result in a new product that will enhance the safety and reliability of water systems, and reduce lost water and downtime for water utilities.




Supplemental Keywords:

water pipe, prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP), sensor technology, eddy current source

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report