Vibrometry as an Early Warning System for Nuclear Plant Pipes

Thin films and sound vibrations are used to alert nuclear plant pipe failures

It can be difficult to detect a failing pipe. A failing pipe may produce a puddle or another sign of damage. It could also burst without being detected. It’s not fun to have a kitchen or laundry room flooded, but nuclear power plants, which contain on average many miles of pipe, are at much greater risk.

Vanderbilt engineers have been working on a system to alert them when plants are getting older. The engineers are using 3D-printed polymer devices with nanoparticles and polymer coatings inside the pipe to detect changes outside the pipe. They hope that sound will be added.

The detection of the changes occurring in the polymer films inside the pipe is a huge challenge. The team is looking to create a proactive and useful technique that uses sound or vibrometry to detect these internal changes.


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