Pipeline Engineering in the Ground: the impact of Ground Conditions on Pipeline Condition and Maintenance Operations

Alexander Royal, Christopher Rogers, Philip Atkins, David Chapman, Giulio Curioni, Kae Foo, Tong Hao, Nicole Metje, Tara Moghareh Abed, Nastaran Shirgiri, S Wazlan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The ground in which utility service pipelines are buried inevitably controls, to a large degree, the structural performance and progressive deterioration of the pipelines themselves. In a parallel programme of research to the UK Mapping the Underworld (MTU) project, a study of the fundamental properties of the ground, and how they change with the seasons and local physical and chemical contexts, is being conducted at the University of Birmingham, UK. While the results of this study feed into both the operational protocols for the MTU multi-sensor location device and the associated knowledge based system (KBS) that is being created to aid its deployment (both topics being the subjects of separate papers to this conference), the suite of complementary research projects on the ground and its properties provide valuable insights to the pipeline engineer. Geophysics is being used by the research team to explore the state of the ground with the aim of highlighting areas of concern for the structural health of pipelines buried in the ground. Studies of cast iron pipeline corrosion mechanisms have focussed on the changes that the reaction products cause to the surrounding soils, with a particular emphasis on clay soils, and one interesting finding is that these clay-iron reaction products can make the pipelines `invisible' to standard geophysical location devices. Moreover there are other features in the ground that are being targeted (voids, ground wetting and softening due to leakage, ground weakening due to progressive erosion), and these features effectively make the ground more or less `visible' to geophysical technologies. Alongside this work, bespoke tests have been developed for use on site to `calibrate' the geophysics, thereby enhancing the signatures of the features. This paper introduces these parallel research projects and draws out the important findings for pipeline engineers charged with establishing the condition of existing buried assets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICPTT 2011:
Subtitle of host publicationSustainable Solutions For Water, Sewer, Gas, And Oil Pipelines
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-0-7844-1202-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
EventInternational Conference on Pipelines and Trenchless Technology (ICPTT 2011) -
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


ConferenceInternational Conference on Pipelines and Trenchless Technology (ICPTT 2011)
Period1/01/11 → …


Dive into the research topics of 'Pipeline Engineering in the Ground: the impact of Ground Conditions on Pipeline Condition and Maintenance Operations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this