The Remote Field Eddy Current (RFEC) technique is ideal for inspecting unpiggable pipelines because all of its components can be made much smaller than the diameter of the pipe to be inspected. For this reason, RFEC was chosen as a technology for unpiggable pipeline inspections by DOE-NETL with the support of OTD and PRCI, to be integrated with platforms selected by DOENETL. As part of the project, the RFEC laboratory facilities were upgraded and data collection was made nearly autonomous. The resulting improved data collection speeds allowed GTI to test more variables to improve the performance of the combined RFEC and platform technologies. Tests were conducted on 6-, 8-, and 12-inch seamless and seam-welded pipes. Testing on the 6-inch pipes included using seven exciter coils, each of different geometry with an initial focus on preparing the technology for use on an autonomous robotic platform with limited battery capacity. Reductions in power consumption proved successful. Tests with metal components similar to the Explorer II modules were performed to check for interference with the electromagnetic fields. The results of these tests indicated RFEC would be able to produce quality inspections while on the robot. Mechanical constraints imposed by the platform, power requirements,more » control and communication protocols, and potential busses and connectors were addressed. Much work went into sensor module design including the mechanics and electronic diagrams and schematics. GTI participated in two Technology Demonstrations for inspection technologies held at Battelle Laboratories. GTI showed excellent detection and sizing abilities for natural corrosion. Following the demonstration, module building commenced but was stopped when funding reductions did not permit continued development for the selected robotic platform. Conference calls were held between GTI and its sponsors to resolve the issue of how to proceed with reduced funding. The project was rescoped for 10-16-inch pipes with the intent of looking at lower cost, easier to implement, tethered platform applications. OTD ended its sponsorship.« le
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