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Medium range Ultrasonic inspection technique for detecting micro-biologically induced corrosion in automatic fire sprinkler systems

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Pioneering inspection technology to better detect corrosion on fire sprinkler systems

Corrosion adversely affects fire sprinkler systems installed in homes and commercial buildings. An EU initiative introduced a portable inspection system to address the drawbacks of conventional alternatives, primarily the time-consuming corrosion detection process.

Digital Economy

Standard visual pipework inspection to check such corrosion is extremely laborious and often involves the removal of pipe sections for assessment. Moreover, the pipes are often enclosed and difficult to access for close viewing. To deal with such issues, the EU-funded SPRINKTEST (Medium range ultrasonic inspection technique for detecting micro-biologically induced corrosion in automatic fire sprinkler systems) project set out to develop a fire sprinkler pipework inspection system. The portable inspection technology uses ultrasonic guided waves to inspect up to six metres of pipework from a single inspection location. It is a time- and cost-efficient solution for inspecting pipes that are hard to access. The SPRINKTEST system contains several components, namely an inspection collar, an ultrasonic pulser-receiver unit and an android tablet installed with automatic defect detection software. Work began by identifying and examining the most important parameters that influence the performance of a medium-range inspection technique. This was followed by the evaluation of possible errors. Project partners conducted experiments using the three most commonly employed coated sprinkler pipes, and analysed various transducer types and arrays to select the most appropriate transducer design and configuration for the sprinkler pipework inspection. They built an adjustable collar based on magnetic coupling for the required range of pipe diameters. The collar helps to determine the exact location of features or defects in the pipes being inspected. In addition, the SPRINKTEST team designed, manufactured and validated a modular, compact, lightweight pulser-receiver unit. To assess the SPRINKTEST technology's overall performance, researchers successfully carried out a series of lab and field trials on a fully operational sprinkler system. SPRINKTEST introduced an optimised method to inspect widely used sprinkler systems. Ultimately, this will enhance the safety of public and private areas throughout Europe.


Corrosion, fire sprinkler systems, pipe, SPRINKTEST, medium range ultrasonic inspection technique

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