Blood inspires pipeline sealing

Platelets derived from those used to help blood clot could be plugging leaks in water pipes in 2007.

The idea originally came about when Ian McEwan, a reader at the University of Aberdeen, was on a train in 1998, reading about leakage in the water industry and cut his finger on the paper.

This has subsequently led to the formation of Aberdeen company, Brinker Technology which subsequently spent five years and testing a working technology that could apply an artificial version of the method to pipes carrying oil, gas and water.

When faced with a new problem, a model of the defective pipeline geometry is created and analysed using Computational Fluid Dynamics. Discrete particles, which represent the platelets are then introduced into the pipeline and their behaviour around the leak monitored. Subsequently, Finite Element Analysis is used to model the behaviour of the platelets over a leak. Only after this are the artificial platelets manufactured and tested.
General manager Iain Chirnside says the platelets are “Generally a bespoke solution for particular leakage events in the oil and gas industry, though we they are beginning to be developed for the water industry as well.”

More information from Brinker Technology

Tom Shelley

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