Pipeline integrity management commonly leverages nondestructive inspection of pipeline defects via inline inspection (ILI) and assessment of the resultant data. Key parameters for dent analysis include the feature geometry measured by caliper tools and the presence/severity of any interacting features (such as cracks or areas of corrosion) which can be measured with a variety of technologies (such as magnetic flux leakage or ultrasonic tools). Dent profile measurements can be especially susceptible to noise due to the measurement techniques employed, signal quality, and overall tool performance. Analytical methods for strain assessment of dents can employ curve/surface fitting techniques to estimate the curvature and calculate the strain of the dent based on the fitted curve/surface. Noise in the measured profile can result in local areas of high perceived strain, which could lead to misinterpretation of a dent’s true severity, especially when using automated or purely analytical assessment methods.

A deterministic strain-based approach for evaluating the severity of dented pipelines has been presented previously which leverages multi-dimensional B-spline functions to more accurately apply the non-mandatory ASME B31.8 equations for dent assessment. The approach presented previously requires relatively smooth dent profile information to minimize the effects of signal noise. While low pass filters can effectively eliminate noise in the signal, they may also lead to loss of accuracy (e.g. excessive smoothing can reduce the depth and sharpness of a measured dent’s profile). This paper discusses how low pass filters can be optimally used to smooth the raw ILI signals to allow for analytical representation of the dent shape without underestimating its severity.

The conclusion of this venture is a detailed workflow for the analytical assessment of dented pipelines for the rapid characterization of the severity of deformation in pipelines with limited computational demand. This type of assessment allows for initial ranking and assessment of large and complex pipeline systems to select features requiring more detailed assessment or mitigation.

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