PIPELINE INTEGRITY

At XCEL NDT, we strive to provide our clients with accurate and reliable pipeline inspections. Providing streamlined reporting tailored to meet each customers’ needs is just one example of our commitment to customer satisfaction. Below is a list of the pipe integrity services we offer, however are not limited to. From Ultrasonic UT inspection to Visual inspection, XCEL is continually adapting service offering to meet client's needs in this ever-changing industry is an XCEL NDT goal. Please contact us with any new requests.

Ultrasonic Shearwave testing utilizes high frequency sound energy to inspect welds and materials with extreme accuracy.  This method of inspection is very safe to be around and can provide a full volumetric examination on most full penetration welds.  By utilizing angle beam transducers and wedges, not only can the welding discontinuities  be detected, but they can be sized in length, through-wall height, and also depth.  This information can be very helpful during the repair process if defects are found to be out of the applicable construction codes.

Two of the biggest advantages to this technique are:

  • the safety factors of utilizing the ultrasound to perform the volumetric examination in lieu of radiography
  • the ability to accurately determine the depth and size of any discontinues that  require repairs to be made

Ultrasonic Straight Beam testing utilizes high frequency sound energy to produce highly accurate thickness measurements.  This technology can be utilized in most industries and can have substantial cost savings over alternative thickness measuring techniques.

Two of the biggest advantages are:

  • only single sided access is required of the test piece
  • Ultrasound is extremely safe to be around

Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing is a rapidly growing advanced services inspection method.  Phased Array testing is one of the most powerful UT inspection methods and can be used in pretty much any application where conventional ultrasonic testing is used.  The use of a Phased Array system allows for the UT beams to be steered and focused with a single transducer assembly.  Beam steering allows for the UT technician to inspect the test pieces quicker and with fewer total transducers compared to the conventional technique.  PAUT’s abilities to be focused also allows for very accurate sizing when it comes to critical defects for volumetric inspections.

Two of the biggest advantages to this technique are:

  • the ability to reduce the technicians number of transducers
  • the ability of PAUT systems to save the examination data in digital format

Time of Flight diffraction method is a sensitive and accurate method for the non-destructive testing of welds for defects.  Measuring the amplitude of reflected signal is a relatively unreliable method of sizing defects because the amplitude strongly depends on the orientation of the crack. Instead of amplitude, TOFD uses the time of flight of an ultrasonic pulse to determine the position and size of a reflector.

This inspection utilizes a volt meter and a reference electrode (copper sulfate half-cell) to measure the comparative voltage for the metal to soil.  This reading is taken to test the level of cathodic protection on the pipe.  This information is very important when it comes to ensuring that the pipelines are resistant to certain damage mechanisms such as corrosion.

Magnetic particle testing is an inspection method that is utilized to detect both surface and very shallow subsurface defects.  This method of inspection is the fastest to detect these types of flaws. By utilizing a magnetic field and small magnetic particles, indications are formed on the the surface directly over the defect locations.  Since the magnetic field is required, all test materials must be ferromagnetic (easily magnetized).  The shape and form of these ferromagnetic materials is not important and has no limitation to the inspections.

Two of the biggest advantages of magnetic particle testing are:

  • the speed of which the inspections can be performed
  • the low cost associated with the testing

When micro-organisms play a role in the corrosion of the pipeline or other vessel, the corrosion is classified as microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC).  Activities of bacteria, archaea, and fungi in colonies that create biofilms on surfaces of materials, or in local environments that directly contact materials, can result in MIC, and most metals, as well as some nonmetals, can be negatively affected by this type of corrosion.  Microbiological test kits utilized to provide accurate, reliable, and easy on-site testing for this type of damage mechanism.

A visual coating inspection is done to help confirm or verify a specific anomaly's location and can also help determine the possible cause of the defect.  This inspection is typically a basic visual inspection of the coating when the pipe is exposed after the excavation.  The visual inspection of the coating can at times provide ideas of what type of anomalies and defects can be expected and at times can give insight into why the anomalies are occurring.  This inspection is very cost effective and should be performed every time a pipeline is exposed.

This testing is used on ferrous materials to determine various properties of the alloy.  On welding, equivalent carbon content (C.E) is used to understand how the different alloying elements affect hardness of the steel being welded. This is then directly related to hydrogen-induced cold cracking, which is the most common weld defect for steel, thus it is most commonly used to determine weldability.

3D Laser Mapping used a dynamic referencing system which allows a light scanner design with small dimensions and a non-contact process.  The 3Dtesting scan is perfectly scaled to be representative of the real geometry and allows easy external defect visualization and sizing.  This inspection allows for quick and very accurate mapping and can be a very cost effective method for the right applications.

By utilizing automated scanning systems corrosion mapping can be taken to a whole new level of accuracy and dependability.  AUT corrosion mapping utilizes the basic principles of manual ultrasonic thickness examination and corrosion mapping, but adds the automated scanning system that records all data collected into a digital file that can be saved for future referencing and analysis.  What use to be very time consuming can now be done in minutes with the use of the computerized analysis programs available in the AUT market.

Two of the biggest advantages to this technique are:

  • the ability to map corrosion, and other laminar defects, with much precision and in a timely manner
  • the ability to save this data for future analysis so comparisons can be made when corrosion rates or growth rates are required

Soil resistivity is a function of soil moisture and the concentrations of ionic soluble salts and is considered to be most comprehensive indicator of a soil’s corrosivity. Typically, the lower the resistivity, the higher the corrosivity.  Field soil resistivity measurements are taken with a specially designed probe that is inserted into the ground near the buried pipe.  This information is very important to the pipeline companies, allowing them to utilize all necessary precautions when necessary.

The pH of the soil surrounding a pipeline can provide a general guide to the nature of the possible corrosion.  This is measured by utilizing specially calibrated pH probes with readings taken near the buried pipe.  This information is very important to the pipeline companies, allowing them to utilize all necessary precautions when necessary.

Visual inspection is the oldest NDT method of them all.  It is literally the only inspection method that is utilized prior to any other inspection techniques being used.  The purpose of the inspection is for the technician to  detect any surface discontinuities using his visual senses alone.

Tools can be utilized to increase the probability of detection such as lighting tools to provide the necessary light and cleaning tools to ensure the test surfaces are clean enough to detect the possible discontinuities.

The single biggest advantage of VT:

  • few tools required to perform the inspection therefore a low cost

Measuring the pH of water that becomes entrapped beneath disbonded coating can provide valuable clues in determining the type and cause of possible stress corrosion cracking or other damage mechanisms in the applicable piping base material. This test simply utilizes litmus strips to take a pH reading of the entrapped water.  This information is very important to the pipeline companies, allowing them to utilize all necessary precautions when necessary.

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