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Material Specialist Hector Hernandez Delgadillo presenting at a conference

The new standard for measuring local leaching in asbestos cement pipelines

Material Specialist Hector Hernandez Delgadillo presenting at a conference

Recently our Material Specialist, Hector Hernandez Delgadillo presented the results of the research concerning degradation and leaching in asbestos cement (AC) drinking water pipelines during the Trenchless Technology Virtual Roadshow. The research conducted by KWR Water Research Institute, where the technology of Acquaint was validated, helps drinking water companies with characterising and determining the condition of AC pipelines. Insight into the local leaching process, strength and proclivity to failure was realised by performing diverse scans on AC samples.

Value and need for research

It is crucial for drinking water companies to have a pipeline network that functions flawlessly. Pipeline owners and asset managers want to know the condition of these pipelines that were installed in the ’70s and ’80s, so they can decide which pipelines actually need to be replaced. Hector explains: Failure rate can be calculated by collecting data about the pipeline network with condition assessments. Because current models are often incomplete regarding the prediction of failure rate, it is necessary to perform preventive research.”

Uncovering local leaching in AC pipelines

Pipeline owners were under the assumption that leaching is a chemical process that evenly disperses throughout the pipeline network. The data obtained by KWR shows that this is not the case, but instead it shows that leaching is a local process. The influence of local leaching on the quality of the pipelines was investigated by performing several tests to determine the remaining strength of AC. The results show that strengths is reduced with higher leaching levels, where after CT-scans were used.

Validation of the PipeScanner  

KWR received samples from Brabant water, Dunea, and Watermaatschappij Limburg to research the effects of leaching on the pipe’s condition to service. These samples were made available for Acquaint for validation of the inspection methodology of Acquaint. The leaching is detected with use of CT-scans and with use of the Pipe Scanner. CT-scans are taking with the use of x-ray. The Pipe Scanner makes use of ultrasonic sensors that allow it to perform a non-destructive inspection. Both methods provide data regarding the remaining healthy wall thickness of the samples. After the results were compared, it is clear that both can effectively measure leaching in AC pipelines. The difference lies in practice, CT-scans require samples to be taken out of the network, unlike the Pipe Scanner that can inspect an in service pipelines.

Data makes for a future-proof pipeline network

During the Trenchless Technology Virtual Roadshow Hector explained what the advantage is of inspecting a pipeline: “Substantiated assumptions can be made about the quality of pipelines with similar conditions to the ones that were inspected, with the use of the gathered data. This way we are working towards a futureproof pipeline network where replacements decisions are data driven”.

Would you like to know more about the Pipe Scanner? Contact our Sales Engineer Robbert Lodewijks via 

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