Why DTS systems are beneficial to pipelines

DTS for pipelinesAlmost all pipelines suffer from numerous leaks during their operation, therefore, they require systems for fiber optic pipeline leak detection. Despite the fact that there are various techniques for leak detection, distributed temperature sensing systems (DTS) are considered to be an ideal option for the purpose.

Distributed temperature sensing is a technique that has been applied for more than two decades. DTS systems are regarded as the best option when a leak leads to a temperature differential between the ambient air and the escaping liquid or gas. The thing is that “temperature differentials generally occur when the pipeline product is at high pressure, high temperature or low temperature, all relative to ambient, which is characteristic of numerous pipelines.”

The operating principle of DTS is based on fiber optic sensing systems that operate as a sensor and measure temperatures along the entire length of optical fibers. Herewith, the optical fiber is put along the outside of the pipeline within the protective coating. It should be noted that the accurate installation location depends on the relative area(s) of the anticipated temperature differential caused by a leak, and on other reasons such as available mounting space.

To be more precise, DTS systems allow fastly identifying and precisely locating slow leaks at weld points, pipeline fittings, and herewith, sudden leaks. Fiber optic pipeline leak detection system enables detecting the precise location of leaks, often overcoming other distributed sensing technology. The fact is that even a tiny leak leads to a crucial temperature change, one that can be recorded by the DTS system.  Most DTS measures temperatures with a precision of a few degrees, more than sufficient for leak detection.

For instance, a modern leading distributed temperature sensing technology allows measuring temperatures at a distance of 6 km, totaling 6000 points of measurement. The fiber optic sensing system’s transceiver measures “temperatures for 6 km both upstream and downstream of its installation point, for a total coverage of 12 km per each transceiver.” It is possible to employ several transceivers with accompanying fiber optic cables to offer coverage for long pipelines, totaling hundreds or thousands of kilometers in distance.

DTS technology acts as a semi-automatic leak detection system, obtaining data information to enable operators to take action before automation and/or safety system activation. It should be mentioned that a semi-automatic system means that the leak detection occurs automatically, resulting in an alarm signal in a continuously staffed control room. 

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) product line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) systems. The company creates and supplies a broad variety of fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. If you are interested in temperature measurement systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com

FBG sensors that dissolve inside the body have been developed

FBG sensors inside bodyResearchers have been firstly created a fiber optic sensing system, known as a fiber Bragg grating (FBG), inside bio-soluble optical fibers. According to Science Daily, fiber optic technology can be used to monitor the condition of fractures and safely study sensitive organs, such as the brain.

Fiber Bragg gratings that reflect the light of a particular wave are often applied in optical fibers used as distributed sensors. For example, such fibers are employed to monitor bridges in real-time or to track the integrity of aircraft wings. However, they have not yet been used in medicine. The new fiber technology will overcome these limitations by using optical fibers that break down in the body.

Firstly, researchers from Greece and Italy have created biodegradable glass for FBGs. They used phosphorus oxide in combination with oxides of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and silicon to perform this. The resulting optical glass combines excellent optical properties with water solubility and compatibility with living organisms, and its properties can be changed by adjusting the chemical composition.

Then the fiber Bragg gratings made from biodegradable glass were placed in conditions that are similar to the human body. As the experiment demonstrated, the created structures dissolve without a trace in such an environment, which opens the way for their medical application. Such FBG sensors are considered to be safe for the body and will not need to be removed after their use.

Possible examples of using optical fiber with FBGs include creating fiber optic sensors to assess joint pressure and monitor the heart and other sensitive organs. This optical fiber can also improve laser techniques for removing tumors by simultaneously conducting a laser beam and measuring temperature, necessary for the laser ablation process. Nevertheless, its safety and effectiveness will be tested on laboratory animals before developing medical applications of FBG technology.

Thus, a group of engineers from the University of Connecticut has created a biocompatible pressure sensor that will help doctors monitor chronic lung diseases, brain tumors, and other medical conditions, and then dissolve into the human body without a trace. Such a FBG sensor should replace existing implanted pressure sensors that are made up of potentially toxic substances and require removal after use.

Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for the clients. Optromix produces a wide range of fiber optic devices, including cutting-edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems. Moreover, Optromix is a top choice among the manufacturers of fiber Bragg grating monitoring systems. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@optromix.com