In an important step forward, we have developed the underlying technology into a useful and reliable tool for field inspection.
1. As you are aware, graphitization and general cast iron corrosion are life-limiting factors for water mains. Our sensor, in conjunction with a risk assessment plan, will non-destructively detect conditions that are predictive of breaks before they occur.
2. The risk assessment plan consists of the following steps:
a) GIS (Geographic Information System) soil corrosivity mapping of PWSA service areas
b) Indirect assessment by measuring parameters such as pipeline electrochemical potentials and soil corrosivity without digging, then determining the risk by giving special attention to age and location (i.e., areas with higher consequences of failure)
c) Direct assessment by performing focused excavation at high-risk locations to see the extent of graphitization on active water mains, in order to quantify risk for break prior to failure and resulting damage
d) Recommendations for repair, replacement, or no action depending on the results of risk assessment prior to break.
3. The major goal is to utilize the graphitization sensor on active pipelines, in order to determine the location and extent of graphitization in high-risk areas that could result in a major break, causing extensive property and infrastructure damage. This device will help prevent costly incidents on active pipelines with high confidence. Reduced exposure to litigation and negative publicity is another important benefit.
4. The invention has applicability to millions of cast iron pipelines world-wide.
5. Matergenics recently filed two provisional patent applications for the sensor invention. The first application, entitled “Non-Destructive Testing System for Detecting Graphitization of Iron”, was filed on August 23, 2019 and was assigned U.S. Patent Application No. 62/890,676. The second patent application, also entitled “Non-Destructive Testing System for Detecting Graphitization of Iron”, was filed on May 18, 2020 and was assigned U.S. Patent Application No. 63/026,366. We are pleased to provide copies of these patent applications upon request.
In conclusion, we believe that the sensor is an important invention, and the applications are numerous and wide-ranging in detecting watermain failures . Please call Dr. Zee at 412-9529441 for more technical details.