Assessment of the Performance of Acoustic and Mass Balance Methods for Leak Detection in Pipelines for Transporting Liquids

  • Martins J
  • Seleghim P
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On-line leak detection is a main concern for the safe operation of
pipelines. Acoustic and mass balance are the most important and
extensively applied technologies in field problems. The objective of
this work is to compare these leak detection methods with respect to a
given reference situation, i.e., the same pipeline and monitoring
signals acquired at the inlet and outlet ends. Experimental tests were
conducted in a 749 m long laboratory pipeline transporting water as the
working fluid. The instrumentation included pressure transducers and
electromagnetic flowmeters. Leaks were simulated by opening solenoid
valves placed at known positions and previously calibrated to produce
known average leak flow rates. Results have clearly shown the
limitations and advantages of each method. It is also quite clear that
acoustics and mass balance technologies are, in fact, complementary. In
general, an acoustic leak detection system sends out an alarm more
rapidly and locates the leak more precisely, provided that the rupture
of the pipeline occurs abruptly enough. On the other hand, a mass
balance leak detection method is capable of quantifying the leak flow
rate very accurately and of detecting progressive leaks.

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  • Jaqueline Costa Martins

  • Paulo Seleghim

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