Fighting corrosion in the desert

April 06, 2016

Inspection technology using ultrasound and magnetic measurement helps to maintain natural gas pipelines.


Natural gas pipelines are a vital part of our infrastructure, bringing energy from distant fields to households and industry. Maintaining the integrity of pipelines is a crucial factor to keeping the gas flowing – a major concern of the Energy Pipelines CRC (EPCRC), which is tasked with enabling safer, more efficient and reliable pipelines to meet Australia’s growing energy needs.

Deakin University PhD student Ying Huo had first-hand experience of the impact of the work of the EPCRC during a three-week industry placement last year, working with a team detecting corrosion in pipelines on just a small section of Australia’s 35,000 km long gas pipeline network.

Corrosion can be caused by a number of factors related to the environment around the pipeline. The damage caused by corrosion can potentially affect the pipeline’s integrity. Inspection technology uses ultrasound and magnetic measurements to find corrosion and determine its area and depth. Pipeline operators can then decide how best to deal with the corrosion.

“Every student should get the chance to get out in the field to see how industry works,” says Huo.

“I was able to observe firsthand how technology and asset management decisions are used to ensure the safe and continued operation of pipelines in Australia.”

This opportunity would not have been possible without the strong collaboration between the Australian pipeline industry and the EPCRC.

– David Ellyard

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