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Leak Detection and Backflow Research

Image: Experimental Pipe loops.

Experimental Pipe Loops

Experimental pipe loops can tell us a lot about in-use water distribution systems. It is made up of 2,500 feet of buried pipe loops. Researchers use the loops to conduct experiments, such as leak detection. It is also used to evaluate devices for locating pipe and in-line, embedded, external, or remote inspection. The loops enable valuable data to be collected under controlled, repeatable conditions. The data tell us how well we're able to describe a water system's performance and condition.

The experimental pipe loops include:

  • A 500-foot-long double-walled stainless steel pipeline (2-inch inner diameter, 4-inch outer diameter) connected to a 100-foot-long, 2­inch diameter steel pipeline
  • A 500-foot-long pre-insulated pipeline consisting of a 12-inch-diameter coated conduit, an insulated annulus space, and a 4-inch-diameter steel carrier pipe connected to a 4­inch-diameter steel pipeline to form a 1,000-foot-long loop
  • A 12-inch-diameter pipe loop that's 1,000 feet long, is schedule-40 coated steel, which is composed of two 500-foot-long legs, with one loop passing through a “test pit” area
Image: Test pit area.

The test pit area allows the removal and addition of 20-foot-long spool sections. Researchers can study different types of pipe materials, rehabilitation techniques, corrosion, and failure modes. The test pit also provides flexibility for changing backfill materials and their moisture content. Access tubes are installed at various locations along the pipelines to allow easy mounting sensors onto the wall of the buried pipe without excavation.

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