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Pipe dreams

Water and drainage Clever bits of kit are helping water engineers to work smarter.Bernadette Redfern identifies some.

Buried treasure

DenChem, Naylor Industries

DenChem is a chemical and thermal shock resistant clay pipe developed last year for trenchless installation at the Natref Oil Refinery in Sasolburg, South Africa. The difficult environment meant that standard pipes were not up to the job.

Investigations by project engineers identified several challenges, including the considerable depth of installation (6m), a high temperature variation of up to 120 oC and high alkalinity of PH 11.7. Numerous existing parallel and crossing pipelines made digging a trench to lay the pipes all but impossible, especially as the surrounding ground had a high hydrocarbon content. There were also high instances of stray electric currents, effectively preventing installation of a steel pipe given the immense problems associated with the installation of effective cathodic protection.

Developing a product that could withstand such inhospitable conditions was complex and the resulting pipe is made from a high performance ceramic, which can withstand temperatures of up to 130infinityC and is resistant to aggressively corrosive environments. It is installed by jacking (see picture).

The product has won several awards for innovation and is now being used in new locations including a UK brewery.

Inside tracker

IBAK, Lanes for Drains

This German technology manufactured by IBAK and now used in the UK by drainage specialist Lanes for Drains is an advanced drains survey technology. Where conventional pan and tilt cameras rely on the operator to see and record images, Panoramo sees and records everything in one pass. It scans the entire internal surface of a drain or sewer and stores the data digitally so that the survey can be referenced at any time. The viewer software then allows users to access stored data to carry out a complete sewer inspection as if they were on site.

As it operates like a virtual camera, panning and rotating, stopping at any position, turning a full circle, zooming, capturing images - even looking at an 'unfolded' 2D view of the pipe's inner surface - are all possible.

Although much more expensive than a traditional camera and control unit at around £300,000 versus around £80,000, it provides cost savings down the line as the information is more accurate and surveys can be carried out much faster, it is claimed.

Leak locator

Accuflow, RPS Water

A new portable flow meter developed by RPS Water is allowing engineers to detect leaks without disrupting water supplies. This allows leak detection to be done in the daytime. The meter is placed over a sluice valve which is then closed slowly and immediately opened again. The device provides an instant indication of the flow passing through.

Flow is calculated using Bernoullli's equation of fluid flow, as applied to orifice flow meters.

In simple terms a fluid passing though an orifice constriction will experience a drop in pressure across the orifice. This change can be used to measure the flow rate of the fluid.

The ow also generates noise due to the turbulence generated as it passes through the constriction. The greater the flow for a given input pressure, pipe size and valve combination, the greater the acoustic ACO Qmax, ACO signature.

Considerable research and testing has been carried out to establish the relationships between flow rate and the resulting acoustic noise generated as a valve is closed, for different pipe size and pressure regimes.

'During development trials, the Accuflow has been tested on over 400 sites at flow rates of 0.3 litres/s to over 5 litres/s and 90% of all tests were within +/- 20% of actual reading and 61% were better than +/-10% of reading, ' says RPS Water regional director Arthur Ascott.

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