See Finished Research Projects

Material characterisation of water pipe systems using ultrasonics


Start: 01-09-2009
End: 31-12-2013


Chair of Production TechnologyWetsus – Cente of Excellence, KWR, Vitens, PWN, BTO



The Dutch water distribution system consists of an extensive pipe system. These pipes are made from various materials:

  • PVC
  • AC (Asbestos Cement)
  • PP
  • Cast ironThe water distribution network suffers from unexpected failures and water companies are faced with uncertainties in their asset management, as the condition of many sections of the network is unknown. The water companies are interested in a tool, to inspect the current condition of their network. The research of the University of Twente aims to provide the necessary material characterisation methods to be implemented in such a tool. The focus is on the material most commonly used (PVC) and the material that has the highest failure rate (AC).
  • PVC - Being a thermoplastic, PVC exhibits time-dependent behaviour. Earlier research revealed a significant amount of physical ageing in PVC gas pipes.
  • AC - This research project aims to characterise the material behaviour of asbestos cement pipes (AC-pipes), as applied for water pipe systems (~35.000km, anno 2003 [1]), by means of acoustic measurements. Currently, a measuring technology is being developed, which allows for inspection of pipe systems in service and a subsequent estimation of the remaining life time of the pipe. It was concluded in a previous research [2] that the material properties of AC are insufficiently known to relate them to the measured response of the measuring technology. The research project proposed here therefore focuses on the theoretical background of the acoustic measuring technology, as well as on the identification of a material parameter that can be measured by this method.


[1]P.G.G. Slaats, G.A.M. Mesman, Conditiebepaling asbestcement waterleidingen, BTO 2003.039, 2004[2]G.A.M. Mesman, F. Hullhoven, Ultrasoon geluidsonderzoek asbestcement leidingen, BTO(s) 2008.015, Oktober 2008