Robotic Non-Destructive Inspection of Hydraulic Streel Structures

Project ID: 22064
Principal Investigator: David Tordonato
Research Topic: Improved Power Generation
Funded Fiscal Years: 2022 and 2023
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can state of the art advanced rapid robotic inspection technology be used effectively to inspect penstocks, outlet works, siphons, and other equipment? The goal for this project is to inform Reclamation staff on where and how best to implement new state of the art robotic inspection methods on our aging infrastructure. While robotic inspections are commercially available, this project will focus on specific logistical considerations which concern Reclamation's hydraulic steel structures. The expected outcome is a better understanding of the following questions:

1. Will robotic inspection technology work over rough surfaces or damaged coatings? What are the limitations related to surface roughness? How does surface cleanliness affect data collection?
2. Will this technology work over thick coatings such as coal tar enamel? Current lining is epoxy 50+ mils.
3. Can surface pitting be identified and quantified?
4. What are the logistical limitations of this process such as manhole spacing, power requirements, minimum diameter requirements, pipe crown inspection?
5. What are the costs associated with using more advanced inspection techniques? If the unit costs are greater than current methods, can the advanced technique be used as a supplement to gain a better understanding of a structure's condition by targeting a select (statistically significant) portion of the structure?
6. Are other flaws such as weld defects detectable?
7. What are the real-world setup times, scan speeds, and overall production rates?
8. What is the format of data collection and ease of use for post-processing?
9. Is it feasible to develop the capability to perform advanced robotic inspections in-house?

Need and Benefit

This proposal supports additional SSIP needs for improved inspection methods on siphons "to identify improved inspection methods to reduce siphon failure rates..." and for pipelines "ROV instrumentation for evaluating pipe condition assessment...".

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact about research products related to this project.

Return to Research Projects

Last Updated: 6/22/20