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Vol. 10, Special Issue, February 2011, pp.84-95



A New Concept for an Effective Leak Detection and Loclisation in Multiphase Fluid Pipelines


Mahmoud Meribout

Electrical Engineering Program, Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Tel.: +971-557291109

E-mail: mmeribout@pi.ac.ae



Received: 27 October 2010   /Accepted: 11 January 2011   /Published: 8 February 2011


Abstract: The aim of this paper is to present a secure wireless sensor network-based infrastructure for fast and accurate detection of eventual leaks that might occur in multiphase pipelines (i.e., pipelines which carry simultaneously more than one fluid). The system is scalable to monitor long distances of pipelines. It consists of a newly designed low cost pipeline set which is composed of an inner pipe that carries the multiphase fluid, surrounded by a second outer pipe that holds the leak detection unit. This latest comprises an air-ultrasonic sensor which continuously senses the presence of the leak. The location of the leak is determined by a bidirectional microphone. Both these sensors are interfaced to a wireless sensor module which performs control, signal processing, and transmission tasks. Hence, the second contribution of the paper is to provide a new secure and reliable communication protocol that takes into consideration the nature of the network in terms of packets patterns and hardware constraints of the communicating nodes. Online tests in a laboratory scale flow loop indicate that the system is capable to accurately determine the location of the leak and its rate (in l/min) in fast response time for different scenarios of leaks.


Keywords: Wireless sensor network, Leak detection, Ultrasonic sensor, Security protocol


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