Long lengths of pipework in the mining industry are extensively used for the transport of slurries containing mineral concentrates, for example copper, iron and phosphates, and mine tailings, which is the waste residue left after extracting the commodity of interest from the ore.
These products are abrasive in nature, so erosion is a common issue. This is typically mitigated by lining the pipe with an internal plastic layer, but when this is consumed it leaves the steel surface open to erosion as well as corrosion, causing leaks of potentially toxic material into the environment.
The continuous stream of abrasive material can cause erosion anywhere along the length of a pipeline but is most critical where it changes direction or flow becomes turbulent. Bends are therefore an important pipe feature to monitor. Our sensors can be mounted either directly on the bend radius in order to directly monitor for pipe wall thickness around the circumference or from a location removed from the bend using long range guided waves. Due to the uncertainty of the exact position of maximum wall loss where turbulent flow is involved, the latter strategy is preferred where possible.