Leakage detection in water pipe networks using electromechanical impedance (EMI) based technique
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The electromechanical impedance (EMI) technique has been successfully used in structural health monitoring (SHM) systems on a wide variety of structures. The basic concept of this technique is to monitor the structural integrity by exciting and sensing a piezoelectric transducer, usually a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) wafer bonded to the structure to be monitored and excited in a suitable frequency range. Because of the piezoelectric effect, there is a relationship between the mechanical impedance of the host structure, which is directly related to its integrity, and the electrical impedance of the PZT transducer, obtained by a ratio between the excitation and the sensing signals.This work presents a study on damage (leaks) detection using EMI based method. Tests were carried out in a rig water system built in a Hydraulic Laboratory for different leaks conditions in a metallic pipeline. Also, it was evaluated the influence of the PZT position bonded to the pipeline. The results show that leaks can effectively be detected using common metrics for damage detection such as RMSD and CCDM. Further, it was observed that the position of the PZT bonded to the pipes is an important variable and has to be controlled.