The project will develop a revolutionary new technology to continuously monitor the integrity of structures such as offshore oil production platforms and offshore wind turbine towers using Ultrasonic Guided Wave (UGW) Technology. The proposal answers the c all for 'New life-cycle optimised, safety and environmental technologies for industrial production'. The majority of the offshore wind turbine towers are at the start of their life cycle (being currently installed in their thousands) whilst the offshore oi l and gas platforms are at the end of their life cycles (between 25-40 years old). Both are in urgent need of inspection. The development of Ultrasonic Guided Wave (UGW) Technology for inspecting offshore structures has the potential to impact upon the lif e cycle cost of vital components of the infrastructure through: 1. Continuous monitoring of structural integrity from fabrication to scrapping. 2. Extending the life of offshore structures, therefore reducing depletion of resources for new builds. Current methods of inspection of offshore oil and gas platforms and wind turbine towers have the following major drawbacks: (1 ) Can only inspect a few cm2 area. (2) Need to be deployed by divers in hazardous sea conditions. (3) Need expensive Remotely Operated Ve hicles for deployment. (4) Cannot inspect the base of the wind turbine towers and offshore platform structures where large loads from sea currents cause fatigue cracks. The above lack of inspection technology has led to major disasters and loss of life aft er large oil platforms have structurally failed. A number of growing examples include the Alexander L. Kielland, which failed through undetected cracking, killing 123 oil and gas workers. Total commercial loss was 500 million Euros. Unfortunately the lack of adequate inspection techniques means that this is becoming an ever-common occurrence. This project will develop new techniques to detect cracks and corrosion in offshore structures.
- FP6-NMP - Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices: thematic priority 3 under the 'Focusing and integrating community research' of the 'Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area' specific programme 2002-2006.
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