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Global structural health monitoring of high-temperature steam lines


Project description

Circumferential steam line welds in nuclear plant are currently inspected at the planned outages used for all categories of plant maintenance, using conventional ultrasonic testing. The steam lines are composed of chrome-molybdenum-vanadium (CNV) steel, which has a fine-grained structure so that defects with dimensions as small as the wavelength are readily detectable with MHz frequency ultrasound. There are typically four steam lines per nuclear plant (reactor), containing some 500 welds. In practice, discrete (ie once only) measurements for weld defects are only made on around 20 per cent of the welds per planned outage, at intervals ranging from one-and-a half to four years, in order to limit the extra planned outage time required for inspection to two days. So total weld coverage is achieved only after around ten years (50 welds per year).



The project’s aim is the early detection of creep cracking, fatigue cracking and erosion thinning in superheated steam lines in nuclear plants, through the use of high-frequency long-range ultrasonic guided waves as a structural health monitoring system, permanently installed on line pipework.


The UltraSteamLine technology is applicable to both existing and future nuclear power plants.

Project Partners

  •  Pi Ltg
  • Brunel University London

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Tat-Hean Gan - Professional Qualifications - CEng. IntPE (UK), Eur Ing, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronics Engg (Uni of Nottingham), MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering (University of Warwick), MBA in International Business (University of Birmingham), PhD in Engineering (University of Warwick), Languages - English, Malaysian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Professional Bodies - Fellow of the British Institute of NDT, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Tat-Hean Gan has 10 years of experience in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Condition Monitoring of rotating machineries in various industries namely nuclear, renewable energy (eg Wind, Wave ad Tidal), Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Construction and Infrastructure, Aerospace and Automotive. He is the Director of BIC, leading activities varying from Research and development to commercialisation in the areas of novel technique development, sensor applications, signal and image processing, numerical modelling and electronics hardware. His experience is also in Collaborative funding (EC FP7 and UK TSB), project management and technology commercialisation.