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Case of Geotechnical Instrumentation of Pipelines in Unstable Zones: Real Time Readings and its Development in Uncommunicated Zones

[+] Author Affiliations
Dimas Robles Robles, Einstein Castillo Martínez

Signum Ingeniería-Ingeciencia, Bogotá, Colombia

Paper No. IPG2017-2526, pp. V001T03A007; 11 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Pipeline Geotechnical Conference
  • ASME 2017 International Pipeline Geotechnical Conference
  • Lima, Peru, July 25–26, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5762-5
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Oil pipelines and gas pipelines usually go through geotechnically unstable areas for different reasons. These can go from situations related to the engineering stage (trace), to environmental and social aspects during the construction process. Due to these aspects, the ducts go through geotechnically undesirable areas. Usually, the geotechnical instabilities, according to the kind of movement, are low speed (cm/year), medium (m/year) and very quick processes that generate movements of tens to hundreds of meters per day. Most of Mass Removal Phenomenon (MRF) are triggered by rain and/or earthquakes and are translated into land movements which at the same time involve, occasionally, important deformations in pipelines or its breaking, depending on the movement speed and the possibility of making works before the pipeline breaking. To get to know the pipeline tensional state from the beginning of the pipeline operation, in this unstable zones, is an essential task, which depends on the early identification of the said land movements and the possibility to do measurements on the pipelines using tools such as In-line inspection running (ILI) or the installation of strain gauges. This situation makes the task of monitoring in unstable zones a vital one. The current paper is based on a breaking pipeline case due to soil movement, “monitored by inclinometers”, with the purpose to show the importance of a geotechnical and mechanical instrumentation that offers useful results. The instrumentation allows to model the interaction soil-pipeline to accomplish relevant tasks, that avoid the pipeline breaking and at the same time allow to stablish deformation thresholds of soil or pipeline, which will become early warnings to avoid breakings. Furthermore, the soil and pipeline’s deformation thresholds are documented, based on a system transport by pipelines (STP) breaking cases, to stablish threat classifications to a specific pipeline.

The called instrument reading in real time implies: detection, measurement and data broadcasting that allows the user to have daily records of the movements or required associated variables, with no need to depend on other communication systems that might be inexistent in some areas. This paper also shows the development and operation of a monitoring station that includes: inclinometers, piezometers, strain gauges and rain gauges, among others. These broadcast their data to a server that the user has access to, from any place with a Wi-Fi network, here the user will be able to display information from each one of the instruments, emphasizing the measured variables or magnitudes (displacement, water level, micro strain mm/day) into graphics. The station has a limitation over battery length of 6 months, when it’s problematic to install a recharge solar cell system.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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