Ultrasonic Inspection of Electrofusion Joints of Large Polyethylene Pipes in Nuclear Power Plants

[+] Author and Article Information
Jinyang Zheng

Institute of Process Equipment,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China
e-mail: jyzh@zju.edu.cn

Dongsheng Hou

Institute of Process Equipment,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China
e-mail: houdongsheng@zju.edu.cn

Weican Guo

Institute of Process Equipment,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China;
Zhejiang Province Special Equipment
Inspection and Research Institute,
Hangzhou 310027, China
e-mail: befresh@163.com

Xiaoming Miao

Institute of Process Equipment,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China
e-mail: gwcndt@126.com

Yaoda Zhou

Ningbo Aupul Pipe Limited Company,
Ningbo 315300, China
e-mail: sd@aupul.com

Jianfeng Shi

Institute of Process Equipment,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China;
State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering,
Institute of Polymer and
Polymerization Engineering,
Department of Chemical and
Biological Engineering,
Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou 310027, China
e-mail: shijianfeng@zju.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Pressure Vessel and Piping Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 8, 2015; final manuscript received April 12, 2016; published online July 18, 2016. Editor: Young W. Kwon.

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 138(6), 060908 (Jul 18, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: PVT-15-1156; doi: 10.1115/1.4033448 History: Received July 08, 2015; Revised April 12, 2016

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe has many advantages such as good flexibility, corrosion resistance, and long service life. It has been introduced into nuclear power plants for transportation of cooling water in U.S. and Europe. Recently, four HDPE pipelines (PE4710) were used in essential cooling water system with operating pressure of 0.6 MPa and operating temperature of no more than 60 °C in a newly established AP1000 nuclear power plant in Zhejiang, China. The outside diameter and thickness are 30 in. and 3.3 in., respectively, which are much larger and thicker than traditional HDPE pipe for natural gas. This brought forward a challenge for nondestructive testing (NDT) and safety assessment of such pipes. In this paper, a solution for inspecting electrofusion (EF) joints of thick-walled HDPE pipes is presented, and the results of an on-site inspection of the nuclear power plant are revealed. To expand the thickness up-limit of previously developed ultrasonic-phased array instrument, an optimization method was proposed by calculating weighing effects of different testing parameters and introducing the concept of overall performance according to practical requirement, by comprehensively considering sensitivity, penetration, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), resolution, and accuracy. Typical defects were found in field inspection. The result shows that the presented technique is capable of inspecting EF joints for connecting large-size HDPE pipes used in nuclear power plants.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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Fig. 1

Scheme of scanning methods for the ultrasonic-phased array technique: (a) S-can and (b) E-scan

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Fig. 2

Sketch of HDPE-1 calibration block with seven sets of through holes

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Fig. 3

Typical image of an effective test

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Fig. 4

Ultrasonic test images of HDPE-1 calibration block at 2 MHz—16 elements—E-scan with focal depth of (a) 17 mm, (b) 22 mm, (c) 27 mm, (d) 32 mm, (e) 37 mm, (f) 42 mm, and (g) 47 mm

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Fig. 5

Main plot of penetration at different testing parameters: (a) E-scan and (b) S-scan

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Fig. 6

Contour plot of penetration at different testing parameters: (a) E-scan and (b) S-scan

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Fig. 7

HDPE pipelines of the first unit of the newly established nuclear power plant: (a) EF joint in the nuclear power plant and (b) size of HDPE joint

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Fig. 8

Ultrasonic test images of EF joints in the nuclear power station with different parameters: (a) 2 MHz, 8 elements, (b) 2 MHz, 16 elements, (c) 2 MHz, 32 elements, and (d) 3 MHz, 32 elements

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Fig. 9

Ultrasonic images of HDPE electronic-fusion joints in the plant: (a) normal image, (b)defect of vertical misplacement, (c) defect of horizontal misplacement, (d) defect with single void, (e) defect with combined voids (location I), and (f) defect with combined voids (location II)



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