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Flexible ultrasonic pipe inspection apparatus

United States Patent

5,770,800
June 23, 1998
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Savannah River National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Website
A flexible, modular ultrasonic pipe inspection apparatus, comprising a flexible, hollow shaft that carries a plurality of modules, including at least one rotatable ultrasonic transducer, a motor/gear unit, and a position/signal encoder. The modules are connected by flexible knuckle joints that allow each module of the apparatus to change its relative orientation with respect to a neighboring module, while the shaft protects electrical wiring from kinking or buckling while the apparatus moves around a tight corner. The apparatus is moved through a pipe by any suitable means, including a tether or drawstring attached to the nose or tail, differential hydraulic pressure, or a pipe pig. The rotational speed of the ultrasonic transducer and the forward velocity of the apparatus are coordinated so that the beam sweeps out the entire interior surface of the pipe, enabling the operator to accurately assess the condition of the pipe wall and determine whether or not leak-prone corrosion damage is present.
Jenkins; Charles F. (Aiken, SC), Howard; Boyd D. (Augusta, GA)
The United States of America as represented by the United States (Washington, DC)
08/ 659,598
August 6, 1996
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC09-89SR18035 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Westinghouse Savannah River Company.