High energy piping in power generation are subject to movement during thermal transients and abnormal operation. Determining the immediate and long term negative effects of abnormal and transient operations on high energy piping can be difficult. Data is currently limited to pipe hanger measurements, physical assessment of the piping, and visual examination of structures near pipe that have been damaged because of abnormal piping movements. The consequence of failure for high energy piping can be severe and the effect of unexpected or unknown displacements cannot be quantified when estimating remaining life. Post-damage assessments may be limited to ultrasonic examinations, removal of damaged material, metallography, and other costly activities.
Prior EPRI work evaluated multiple sensor technologies for remotely measuring displacement of high energy piping systems. A candidate system using laser-based LIDAR was selected from the screening process and used in a demonstration project at a U.S. power station. The demonstration project consisted of installing three sensors with wireless communication capabilities and a cellular data transmission hub at the power station. Based on the results, the need to deploy a LIDAR sensor network to a steam piping circuit was identified, including integrating displacement results with plant operating data to assess impacts of piping displacement during operation.
Combining measurement data from the deployed LIDAR system with plant temperature profiles in a Bayesian model will provide participating members and the public insight into enhancing approaches for assessing remaining life of high energy piping system and for future nondestructive inspection.