PhD Studentship: Acoustic Monitoring of Gas Leaks in Pipes using Optical Fibres

University of Southampton - Dynamics Group

Project Reference: CDT-SIS-375

Pipeline networks are the most economic and safest mode of transportation for oil, gases and other fluid products. As a means of long-distance transport, pipelines have to fulfill high demands of safety, reliability and efficiency.

Leakage from pipes is a major issue, particularly in the gas industry, not only in environmental and economic terms, because of wasting important natural resources, but importantly from a safety perspective.

Gas pipes can traverse thousands of miles often across inhospitable territory in remote areas. Acoustic methods predominate in the armoury of available leak detection methods but, historically, these have been difficult to implement in places where access is limited.

Optical fibre technology offers the possibility of continuous acoustic monitoring of pipelines and remote detection of leaks. Still in its infancy, the technology would benefit considerably from greater knowledge of how the leak noise in a gas pipe propagates both along the pipe and radiates into the soil where it can be detected by the fibre.

This exciting new project is sponsored by Fotech Solutions (www.fotech.com), a leading player in developing distributed acoustic sensing solutions for the oil and gas, pipeline and security markets.

The aim of this project is to optimize existing optical fibre sensing configurations by examining the effects of a number of different parameters (such as leak size, gas pressure, soil type, fibre offset, cable design) on the acoustic signals detected by the fibres.

The project will be a balance of theoretical and experimental work, with the experimental work being largely undertaken at Fotech’s recently installed, state-of the-art test facility in the south of England. There will also be opportunities for international travel to some of Fotech’s live test sites around the globe.
Dependent on the qualifications and experience of the applicant, an enhanced stipend may be available for this project.

The project would suit a candidate with both strong analytical skills and an enthusiasm for experimental measurements. The successful candidate will be working within the Dynamics Group within the ISVR but will also be associated with the Mapping the Underworld programme (www.mappingtheunderworld.ac.ukwww.assessingtheunderworld.org) which includes multi-disciplinary researchers from a number of UK universities.

Due to the requirement to travel to UK test sites, a UK driving licence is required.

This project is being run in participation with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems. For details of our 4 Year PhD programme and further projects, please see http://www.cdt-sis.soton.ac.uk/

To apply, please use the following website: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/postgraduate/research_degrees/apply.page

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England