Leak Detection in Water Pipes Using Submersible Optical Optic-Based Pressure Sensor

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Nov 30;18(12):4192. doi: 10.3390/s18124192.


Leakage is undesirable in water distribution networks, as leaky pipes are financially costly both to water utilities and consumers. The ability to detect, locate, and quantify leaks can significantly improve the service delivered. Optical fibre sensors (OFS) have previously demonstrated their capabilities in performing real-time and continuous monitoring of pipe strength leak detection. However, the challenge remains due to the high labour cost and time-consuming process for the installation of optical fibre sensors to existing buried pipelines. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the feasibility of a submersible optical fibre-based pressure sensor that can be deployed without rigid bonding to the pipeline. This paper presents a set of experiments conducted using the proposed sensing strategy for leak detection. The calibrated optical fibre device was used to monitor the internal water pressure in a pipe with simultaneous verification from a pressure gauge. Two different pressure-based leak detection methods were explored. These leak detection methods were based on hydrostatic and pressure transient responses of the optical fibre pressure sensor. Experimental results aided in evaluating the functionality, reliability, and robustness of the submersible optical fibre pressure sensor.

Keywords: leak detection; nondestructive technique; optical fibre sensors; pipeline; sensors.