The leakage detection system based on the distributed fibre optical temperature measurement method is an analysing method for continuous detection and localization of leakages at pipelines in the steady and unsteady operation states according to the German rules for pipelines TRbF 301/TRFL which is valid in Germany since April 2003. The leakage
detection system is useable under the precondition that there is a sufficient large temperature gradient between the leakage area and the unaffected environment. This can be caused by the medium itself or through a physical effect due to the leakage, e.g. gas expansion, evaporation. It's a very sensitive method, so also creeping leakages can be detected.
Interaction of target molecules with the evanescent wave of light guided in optical fibers is among the most promising sensing schemes for building up smart chemical sensor technologies. If the technique of optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR) is combined with silicone-clad quartz glass fibers distributed chemical sensing is possible. Hydrocarbon (HC) detection and location is done by automated identification of the position of the corresponding step drop (light loss) in the backscatter signal induced by local refractive index increase in the silicone cladding due to a penetrating HC compound. A commercially available mini-OTDR was adapted to sensing fibers of up to nearly 2-kilometer length and location of typical HC fuels could be demonstrated. The instrument is applicable for fuel leakage monitoring in large technical installations such as tanks or pipelines with spatial resolution down to 1 m. A similar technique using measurements in the Vis spectral range is being developed for health monitoring of large structures, e.g., for early detection of corrosion caused by water ingress and pH changes in reinforced concrete. Here, a pH indicator dye and a phase transfer reagent are immobilized in the originally hydrophobic fiber cladding, leading to a pH induced absorption increase and a step drop signal in the backscatter curve. The configuration of the distributed sensing cables, the instrumental setups, and examples for HC and pH sensing are presented.
The monitoring of temperature profiles over long distance by means of optical fibers represents a highly efficient way to perform leakage detection along pipelines, in dams, dykes, or tanks... Different techniques have been developed taking advantages of the fiber geometry and of optical time domain analysis for the localization of the information. Among fiber optics distributed temperature sensing techniques, Brillouin-based systems have demonstrated to have the best potential for applications over distances up to several tens of kilometers. The key features and performances are reviewed in the present article and a 55km pipeline equipped with a fiber optics leakage detection system is presented as a case study.
A distributed fibre optical temperature sensing technique for different monitoring tasks, especially for leakage detection in oil and gas facilities, pipelines, underground storage sites, water constructions sites, mining and environmental industries is presented.