Jonas Kavi, P.E., an Assistant Project Manager in CEC’s Bridgeport office, has recently been published in the MDPI journal “Sensors.”
The article is titled “An Approach for Easy Detection of Buried FRP Composite/Non-Metallic Pipes Using Ground-Penetrating Radar.” It can be read here.
Jonas co-authored the research paper with his West Virginia University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and research advisor, Dr. Udaya B. Halabe. He has since joined Arizona State University as a teaching professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment (SSEBE).
From the article abstract, “Pipelines remain the safest means of transporting natural gas and petroleum products. Nonetheless, the pipeline infrastructure in the US is facing major challenges, especially in terms of corrosion of steel/metallic pipes and excavation damage of onshore pipelines (leading to oil spills, explosions, and deaths). Corrosion of metallic pipelines can be avoided by using non-corrosive materials such as plastic pipes for low-pressure applications and glass-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) composite pipes for transporting high-pressure oil and natural gas. However, buried non-metallic pipelines are not easily detectable, which can lead to increased excavation damage during construction and rehabilitation work. Alternative strategies for making buried non-metallic pipes easily locatable using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) were investigated in this study.”
That’s where Jonas’ study results come into play. It was shown that using carbon fabric or an aluminum foil overlay on non-metallic pipes before they are buried significantly increases the reflected GPR signal amplitude. This makes it much easier to locate such pipelines. The abstract further states: “The reflected GPR signal amplitude for pipe sections with carbon fabric or aluminum foil overlays was found to have increased by a factor of up to 4.5 over the control samples. The results also highlight the importance of selecting the appropriate antenna frequency for GPR surveys, since wet silt loam soil and clay significantly reduce the penetration depths of the radar signals produced by the GPR antennae.”
This idea is not just applicable to new pipeline installations, but can also be used during rehabilitation/repair of existing pipelines, as well as when pipe replacements are completed. Those non-metallic existing or replacement pipes can easily be wrapped in the carbon fabric or an aluminum foil overlay, allowing for easy detection at a later date.
Jonas earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He is a member of/affiliated with the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (formerly known as National Association of Corrosion Engineers) the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing.