TDC Sees Record Participation & Activity Since Opening

Wed, July 19, 2017

The second quarter of 2017 was an outstanding quarter for the Technology Development Center (TDC) in Houston, TX. The achieved level of activities at the TDC was the highest since the Grand Opening event two years ago, with a record breaking 231 visitors representing 44 companies in the month of June. Ongoing research at the TDC consists of both PRCI funded R&D projects and member funded work through joint industry initiatives or independent work. Ongoing PRCI funded research include the following projects:

  • MD-1-13: Performance Evaluation of ILI Systems for Detecting and Discriminating Metal Loss, Cracks and Gouges in Geometric Anomalies - The design, fabrication, and full characterization of pipe joints for the mechanical damage ILI pull testing is now complete. The test program will combine the new pipe string along with the existing 24” string to test ILI systems on a large sample set of mechanical damage features of varying severity and complexity. The first round of testing using the pull test facility will initiate in Q3 2017. The results of this study will provide operators with an improved understanding of ILI systems capabilities to detect and discriminate mechanical damage features which will help direct further research on improving ILI systems technologies and focus efforts on improving assessment methods and models.
  • MD-1Q: Development of Frame Work for Life prediction for Crack-in-Dent, Leak vs. Rupture Prediction, and Pressure Capacity of Crack-containing Dents in Liquid Pipelines - The contractor reviewed the pipe inventory at the TDC and selected six samples with mechanical damage features that will be used for full scale dent fatigue testing to determine fatigue crack growth testing in a soil environment. The warehouse at the TDC was used to weld on endcaps and run the sensors wiring for the experiments. The outcome of this study will lead to a frame work for life prediction of cracks in dents in liquid pipelines.
  • NDE-1-7: Assessment of Non-Destructive Evaluation Tools for Difficult-to-Inspect Pipes in Liquid Applications - The 6-inch liquid loop was redesigned to accommodate the pipe samples and configuration necessary to carry out the set of experiments for NDE-1-7. The test samples were also assessed using a non-destructive evaluation system available at the TDC to ensure the accuracy of manufactured defects on the pipe surface. The project is expected to complete the testing in the liquid loop in Q3 2017. This research will help operators manage difficult-to-inspect pipelines by providing quantitative performance evaluation of smart pigging and other NDE tools.
  • NDE-4-2: Development of a PRCI ILI Performance Test Loop for Liquid Coupled Technologies - The construction of the 12in liquid test loop was initiated once all the parts and equipment were acquired. The commissioning of the 12in loop will directly benefit IM-3-1 project by incorporating the ERW pipe samples into the loop design. The loop will be fully operational and available for other research opportunities by the end of Q3 2017. Once completed, this facility will allow for testing the performance of liquid coupled ILI tools to detect and discriminate integrity threats, but in onshore and offshore applications.
  • NDE-4-8: Validation of In-Ditch Material Characterization Equipment and Techniques - A large set of pipe samples at the TDC were identified for material characterization testing. The contractor will be working with a number of technology providers to demonstrate and validate the strength and toughness estimation tools and techniques using standard field metallurgical equipment. These technologies enable operators to confirm pipe properties in situ, per pending PHMSA regulations.  The work will continue throughout 2017.

NDE Tools Demonstration at the TDC Warehouse Facility

Since the start of 2017, PRCI member companies have increasingly employed the TDC to execute research projects and conduct meetings. Member funded research at the TDC allows for a quick response to industry challenges or operational conditions that are unique to a given operator.

In the area of ILI tools assessment and verification, the pull test facility was used to assess the performance and accuracy of ILI tools for metal loss, stress corrosion cracking and localized damage features. The 6-inch liquid loop was also utilized to confirm the capability of certain ILI and cleaning tools to navigate through challenging piping configurations for offshore pigging applications.

With regards to NDE testing, the pipe samples at the TDC were an integral part of NDE tools performance evaluation and demonstration. In addition, members have utilized the warehouse space at the TDC to qualify NDE technicians for field work.

Finally, the conference rooms were used for general meetings and training. With the combination of meeting space and quick access to pipe samples, members have a unique opportunity to provide hands-on training for the next generation of pipeline engineers and field technicians.

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