Publication: P. Airey1, C. Chai1, H. Handley2 and S. Nicholls2
1AXT PTY LTD, 2First Gas, NZ, “Incorporation of Handheld LIBS into a Pipeline Repair Workflow,” Industrial Eye, The Official Journal of the Australian Institute for Non-Destructive Testing, Vol. 7, No. 3 (2020).
Handheld LIBS is a viable alternative to spark OES, simple to use in the field.
Gas pipelines form a critical part of infrastructure in the supply of natural gas. Where repairs are required, welding is often necessitated. To ensure long-term stability of the weld repairs, carbon equivalent (CE) testing and thermal analysis tests must be carried out to formulate the optimal repair procedure. Recently, First Gas, New Zealand’s largest gas network, has incorporated handheld LIBS into the CE determination procedure which allows for more rapid and portable performance and with it improved economic benefits.
Analyses of CRMs before and after the pipeline measurements shows excellent consistency with their respective data sheets. This indicates that the LIBS calibration is accurate and that the calibration is not drifting during the measurement period. This also implies that the handheld LIBS is capable of producing data that is equivalent to spark OES.
Conclusions: CE testing using the SciAps Z-200 C+ has proven to be a fast and reliable technique. As such, New Zealand’s First Gas, responsible for the nation’s natural gas transmission network has included LIBS analysis for CE determination of steel pipes into their asset management workflow where it has been found to be an excellent alternative to spark OES. Furthermore, its handheld configuration brings efficiency gains with measurements able to be carried out in situ and subsequent weld repairs able to be effected immediately thereafter, thus streamlining the asset management workflow.
Keywords: Gas pipeline, LIBS, Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, Carbon Equivalent, PMI, Positive Materials Identification.
The SciAps Z features the most advanced LIBS technology of any handheld:
- The most powerful laser, operating at 5-6 mJ/pulse, up to 50 Hz rep rate, Class 3B 1064nm wavelength.
- The spectrometer range of 190 nm out to 950 nm delivers full periodic table coverage.
- Optional argon gas purge yields better limits of detection for many elements
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