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Safe monitoring of pressure peaks in gas- and fluid-filled pipelines


Gas or liquid-filled pipelines are integral part in any industry. They are used for transporting and dispensing liquid, supplying compressed air, hydraulics applications or supplying water and utilities within the company. Regardless of the applications, they are not generally protected from dynamic pressure fluctuation caused by abrupt changes in flow rates due to normal operations.

Pressure surge is considered as a “time-bomb” as long as fluid-filled pipes are around. This was described in details firstly by Marcus Vitrivius Pollio, a Roman architect, civil engineer and author, in the 1st century BC. The problems of high pressure built-up in aqueduct construction were reported to exist in many of the finest Roman architecture such as those at Segovia and the Pont au Gard. In fact, they occur in all fluid pipelines systems and could potentially lead to pipeline fatigue and catastrophic failure.

Causes of Pressure Surge

The main cause of pressure surge originates from the sudden change of the fluid velocity in the pipelines system. The root cause of this phenomenon generally arises from the normal operation of pumps and valves. It may also be due to expulsion of air from the piping system. Although these problems can be minimized through proper sizing and design of pumps and valves, they cannot be completely avoided as it is impossible to close valve in infinitely slow duration to avoid any inertial effect. This is why installing a reliable monitoring system is important for early detection of potential catastrophe.

Sensors and pressure dampers are typically used to solve this issue. They may provide the operators with real-time operational data and immediate action can be taken when problem arises to minimize the impact of pressure surge. However, these combinations are not capable of detecting and recording extreme pressure peaks. Overpressure peaks can arise in the matter of milliseconds which can go undetected with this monitoring system.

Specially Designed Manometer for Pressure Peak Detection

KELLER AG, the pressure sensing specialists, develops a special digital manometer, LEO1, that is capable of recording pressure at the rate of 5000 readings per second. It is specifically designed to detect extreme pressure peak at a high temporal resolution. This high speed digital manometer is a micro-processor controlled, accurate and versatile pressure measuring instrument with capability to measure from -1 to 1000 bar with 200mbar resolution. An optional intrinsically safe and ATEX certified version is also available which incorporates an additional protection switch for use in explosive area.

For additional recording capabilities, the high-resolution digital manometer, LEO5, is available. It can be easily adapted to customer-specific measuring requirements due to their modular design. An optional Bluetooth interface is also available for pressure measurements in inaccessible or hard-to-access area. With LoRa technology, this sensor is capable to connect to the cloud and communicate real-time data and analytics. It also has low power consumption and is optimized for the Internet of things (IoT) application.

Having these devices in your monitoring systems improves the safety of the overall site and minimizes the possibility of catastrophic pipelines failure. They can also be used as early accident prevention devices which are invaluable tools for maintenance. The pressure peak could indicate damaged machinery and notify the operators of early maintenance plan. Their capability to integrate with LoRa technology for IoT application further increases efficiency and productivity with minimum additional cost.

As the era of IoT is approaching, the demand for sensors will continue to increase. Bestech Australia supply the pressure sensors from KELLER AG in Australia and New Zealand. We also supply and distribute industrial sensors for measuring a wide range of physical parameters, such as displacement, temperature, vibration, just to name a few. Our factory-trained applications engineers will assist with providing sensor solutions for specific measurement requirements.

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