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16 May 2007 Acoustic leak-detection system for railroad transportation security
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Pressurized rail tank cars transport large volumes of volatile liquids and gases throughout the country, much of which is hazardous and/or flammable. These gases, once released in the atmosphere, can wreak havoc with the environment and local populations. We developed a system which can non-intrusively and non-invasively detect and locate pinhole-sized leaks in pressurized rail tank cars using acoustic sensors. The sound waves from a leak are produced by turbulence from the gas leaking to the atmosphere. For example, a 500 μm hole in an air tank pressurized to 689 kPa produces a broad audio frequency spectrum with a peak near 40 kHz. This signal is detectable at 10 meters with a sound pressure level of 25 dB. We are able to locate a leak source using triangulation techniques. The prototype of the system consists of a network of acoustic sensors and is located approximately 10 meters from the center of the rail-line. The prototype has two types of acoustic sensors, each with different narrow frequency response band: 40 kHz and 80 kHz. The prototype is connected to the Internet using WiFi (802.11g) transceiver and can be remotely operated from anywhere in the world. The paper discusses the construction, operation and performance of the system.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
P. C. Womble, J. Spadaro, M. A. Harrison, A. Barzilov, D. Harper, L. Hopper, E. Houchins, B. Lemoff, R. Martin, C. McGrath, R. Moore, I. Novikov, J. Paschal, and S. Rogers "Acoustic leak-detection system for railroad transportation security", Proc. SPIE 6538, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense VI, 653817 (16 May 2007);


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