This Robot Can Find Leakage In Any Pipe System

This Robot can inspect water or gas pipes from the inside to find leaks long before they become catastrophic.

This Robot Can Find Leakage In Any Pipe System
The small, rubbery robotic device can be inserted into the water system through any fire hydrant. It then moves passively with the flow, logging its position as it goes. It detects even small variations in pressure by sensing the pull at the edges of its soft rubber skirt, which fills the diameter of of the pipe. Courtesy of the researchers

There is various kind of pipe leaks. Some of them can bring the flood to your home, whereas other do not cause that much damage. Although, finding leakage in pipe system is also a tricky process as they may sometimes small as a pinpoint.

MIT scientists have developed a robot that can detect small leakages in the pipe system. This robot that is developed by a team of PipeGuard can go through any type of pipe system via any fire hydrant. It is available in two types: one which passively floats along a pipe, and another that can be controlled.

Actually, the system uses a small robotic device of a shuttlecock shape. Based on divergent pressures, the system gains data by using sensitive detectors on a rubber skirt. It also monitors the position. When the robot comes out of pipe via a net, it cross-checks two sets of data and finds the leak.

Scientists tested the robot on the devilishly tricky trial pipe at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia. They found that there is an artificial leak in the pipe with 100 percent of the time.

This Robot Can Find Leakage In Any Pipe System
Researchers have developed a fast, inexpensive robotic device that can find even tiny leaks in pipes with pinpoint precision, no matter what the pipes are made of.
Courtesy of the researchers

Almost 40% water supply goes to waste in Monterrey, Mexico. So, to help in reducing water waste, scientists deploying the robot in order to help the city combat the $80 million cost.

Mark Gallager, a director at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Water Department, said, “The discovery provides a solution to two serious issues in water distribution networks: 1/5 of supply being lost due to leaks and current technology being incompatible with some piping materials.”

“It could minimize the damage to infrastructure and the loss of water services to homes and businesses, and it could significantly reduce the associated cost.”

The robot could also detect the dangers caused by gas leaks. No doubt, the world’s natural gas pipes are often poorly maintained. The leaks inside such pipe system are hard to detect until they become large enough for people to smell the added odorants.

Gallager said, “If we had the capability to find leaks when they first appear or before they get to the point of critical failure, that could equate to preventing the loss of millions of gallons of water annually.”

The robot could also be a solution to the leaks and breaks in the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has started to leak oil. It could provide a way to minimize the risks associated with gas or liquid leaks. This will help us protect the environment from dangerous oil spills and needless emissions of greenhouse gases.

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