The term “leak detecting equipment” refers to any of a number of devices used to find leaks in pressure vessels, pipelines, and other pressurized storage and/or transportation containers. This equipment can be used in systems that contain fluids or gases. In general, there are two types of leak detecting equipment: internally based and externally based.
Internally Based Equipment
Internally based leak detecting equipment uses field instrumentation to monitor internal system parameters such as flow, pressure, and fluid temperature. Fluctuations in monitored parameters can be used to identify and locate a leak in the system. Local monitoring of pressure or flow provides simple leak detection requiring no telemetry, but is only useful in steady-state conditions and is limited in its ability to detect changes in gas systems. Additionally, this method requires a relatively long period of time to properly detect and alert operators to leaks. Internally based equipment can also monitor a pressure system using acoustic pressure waves. This method analyzes the refraction waves produced when a leak occurs. Fluids or gases generally create a high-velocity jet when escaping from a structural break in a system’s wall(s). The pressure waves produced by this radiate outward from the crack, hole, etc., and can be detected and analyzed. The amplitude of the ensuing pressure waves increases in relation to the size of the leak. Pressure sensors are able to pinpoint the location of a leak in a matter of seconds.
Externally Based Equipment
Externally based leak detecting equipment uses local, dedicated sensors that are far more sensitive and accurate than those of internally based devices. External leak detection equipment can monitor pressure systems in a variety of ways, including infrared radiometric testing, acoustic emission detection, vapor sensing, and via fiber optic cables. These systems are considerably more expensive than internally base