Engineering School Researchers Develop Pipeline Corrosion Sensor

PhD student Amir Nasrollahi (left), Dr. Samuel Dickerson (center), and Dr. Piero Rizzo (right). Photo courtesy of Swanson School of Engineering/Paul Kovach.

University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) received a $360,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (Alexandria, Virginia, USA) to develop a device capable of detecting pipeline corrosion and erosion.

The corrosion sensor is designed for use in environments, such as petrochemical and nuclear power plants, where aging pipelines operating at high temperatures present potentially dangerous conditions for maintenance workers and safety inspectors. The device will continuously monitor pipeline corrosion at any temperature and location, even while operating remotely, and transmit relevant data wirelessly.

The goal of the corrosion sensor project is to identify deteriorating pipelines that may otherwise go unmonitored due to pipeline failure, plant shutdowns, and the costliness and inconsistency of human inspection, according to Piervincenzo (Piero) Rizzo, the project’s lead investigator and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering,

Joining Rizzo in this research project as co-principal investigators are Samuel Dickerson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Ian Connor, assistant professor of ophthalmology and bioengineering. The research team will conduct tests to determine the soundness of the scientific principles behind the device and its potential applications in other areas. For instance, Rizzo says that a small-scale version of the device to monitor the intraocular pressure of individuals who have, or who may develop, glaucoma.

Source: University of Pittsburgh – Swanson School of Engineering,