Capacitive sensor technology for polyethylene pipe fault detection

by Kirby, Travis W., M.S., WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 50 pages; 1471527


This work develops a Finite Element Analysis simulation to determine if capacitive sensors can be used to detect defects in polyethylene gas distribution pipes. Currently, there is no in ground detection system to find the defect. Catastrophic results can occur if gas leaks are present and ignite. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software will be used to simulate how different shapes and sizes of capacitive sensors affect the electric field, which affect capacitance when the dielectric of a material changes. An optimal electrode size and shape was chosen from these simulations, built, and tested at the Battelle Pipeline Safety Research & Development Program. The sensor was run through multiple tests on a thirteen foot long, six inch diameter polyethylene pipe with a half inch wall thickness where random defects were placed in the pipe. Upon completion of the test, the data was analyzed, and it determined that the capacitive sensor detected all known defects in the polyethylene pipe.

AdviserRoy S. Nutter
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsElectrical engineering; Mechanical engineering
Publication Number1471527

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