Sonic Characterisation of Change in Sewer Networks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bradford
Department Name: Sch of Engineering Design and Technology

Abstract

Water companies need enhanced information in two key areas to manage the current and strategic maintenance of sewers efficiently, which relates strongly to the operational and structural conditions and the rate of deterioration. As flooding caused by hydraulic overload can be tackled through capital investment, flooding other causes becomes increasingly significant as a failure of a service with heavy environmental, economical and social impacts. In many situations, it is more efficient to maintain the operational condition of a sewer regularly, rather then replace it in the case of structural collapse. Companies are now looking for new ways of reducing these incidents, however, the existing methods of sewer analysis and CCTV survey remain largely time-consuming and subjective.Recently, a series of acoustic experiments has been carried out by the investigators in a drained sewer pipe to identify the evolution of a small blockage. These initial results suggest that the acoustic signature of the sewer can be used to detect the location and extent of a minor change in the cross-section of a large-diameter pipe. Although, acoustic instruments have already been developed to determine variations of the cross-section of narrow pipes (e.g. musical instruments), there have been no systematic studies into the reconstruction of the cross-section profile of a realistic sewer pipe. The purpose of this project is to develop a novel practical and efficient acoustic technique to monitor the evolution of operation and structural conditions in live sewer networks.

Publications

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Maximov GA (2008) Attenuation and scattering of axisymmetrical modes in a fluid-filled round pipe with internally rough walls. in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Podd FJ (2007) Rapid sonic characterisation of sewer change and obstructions. in Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research

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Tolstoy A (2009) Detecting pipe changes via acoustic matched field processing in Applied Acoustics

 
Description The key results of this study was: (i) the development of a valid theoretical model for sound propagation in a pipe; (ii) development of a new sensor for pipe inspection based on acoustic intensity principles; (iii) laboratory and field experiments to validate the developed acoustic model and instrument. The project resulted in a novel acoustic sensor prototype and software which is capable of identifying structural conditions and defects in a live sewer pipe.
Exploitation Route Water companies and sewer network survey companies are the main non-academic beneficiaries of the technology developed as a result of this project. The results of this project are now exploited commercially by Acoustic Sensing Technology Ltd. (No. 08301004), Sci Tec Daresbury, The Innovation Centre, Daresbury, Cheshire, WA4 4FS.
Sectors Electronics,Environment,Transport,Other

URL http://www.acousticsensing.co.uk/
 
Description The impact of this work was the attention from the water industry, instrument manufacturing companies and venture capitalists to the acoustic sensing technology which was developed as a result of this project. This work led to the Follow-on EPSRC Grant (EP/G005737/1) and Royal Society Brian Mercer Award (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXkjmfPD2qs) which enabled us to develop this technology towards the commercial end through the design of robust instrument and extensive field work.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Electronics,Environment,Transport,Other
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Attendance at Euronoise conference in Tampere (Finland) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact the paper entitled "Sound propagation in presence of partly saturated porous soils" was presented and received peer review feedback.

Better understanding on how porous sediments affect sound propagation in pipes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description Attendance at Mapping the Underworld meeting in Sheffield University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Contacts were made with academic and non-academic partners who were interested in using the acoustic inspection technology

Trials were arranged at a Balfour Beatie site and better contacts were established with the teams at Sheffield and Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Attendance at the 19th International Congress on Acoustics in Madrid (Spain) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The paper entitled "Attenuation of eigen-modes in wells and pipes due to their scattering on the rough inner surface" was presented and received peer review feedback.

A btter information sharing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Presentation at Connect Yorkshire Investment Forum to secure funding for SewerBatt technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A former MP, Mr. Nick Hawkins, was engaged in the commercialisation work and helped to secure funding for the spin-off.

The notable impact was the funding from The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental to form Acoustic Sensing Technology Ltd.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Research seminar at University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna (Austria) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The new acoustic technology was presented and explained in detail to those researchers in Europe who have strong connections with end-users

This visit results in a long-term trials of this technology in the field and participation in the INNOKANIS project sponsored by the Ministry for Life in Austria.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009