phd project

Applying nonlinear acoustics for detection and assessment of PVC water mains

This project aims to develop and implement an innovative nonlinear ultrasonic technique for the detection and assessment of ageing in PVC water mains. The inspection of drinking water supply mains is critical to determine the remaining lifespan of pipes and to reduce costs while enabling better water supply with high-quality drinking water and reducing downtime of water supply. The lack of an inline inspection method for PVC pipes, which are commonly used in the Netherlands and are on average 50 years old, is a significant problem. The proposed technique offers a promising solution for detecting and assessing ageing in PVC pipes. In this project, we aim to implement the technique in an inspection device, with the help of technology companies, to enable real-world scenario testing. The project’s multidisciplinary approach and commercial relevance align with the values of Wetsus Smart Water Grids research theme. The successful implementation of this technique will have a significant impact on the maintenance and management of PVC water mains, ensuring a reliable and safe drinking water supply for communities.

Research challenges
The current research lacks a complete understanding of the correlation between the acoustic response and the quality of PVC. Additionally, how to properly use this technique using phased array transducers, which make alignment easier than using separate probes and are a great step towards applicability of the method, and together keeping track of damping and alignment is largely unknown. This is crucial to differentiate between signal deviations caused by a change in material parameters or another factor, such as a slight misalignment.

This research presents an excellent opportunity for innovation, introducing a new inspection technology for non-destructive water mains inspection. With the successful implementation of previous research in the Dutch water mains, we aim to continue this trend by discovering an effective method to inspect PVC mains. By bridging the current research gap, we can develop an applicable and commercially relevant technique that significantly benefits the management and maintenance of PVC water mains, ensuring reliable and safe drinking water for communities.

Your assignment
You will contribute to the development of a complete method for inspecting water mains made of PVC in terms of remaining quality. The goal of this project is to bridge the research gaps, find solutions to remaining issues, and transfer knowledge to the partners to enable the implementation of this new method.

This project offers you a unique opportunity to work with complex theories and apply them practically to find exciting new insights in material science, acoustics, and signal processing. To achieve this, your role will be crucial in understanding the relationship between PVC aging and changes in acoustic parameters. Literature research and discussions with partners are highly recommended approaches to support the work you will do in material science.

To gain a deeper understanding of the acoustic response of PVC, modeling combined with experimental work is envisioned, and you will be responsible for conducting experiments using an existing setup, which may need to be expanded for this project. Finally, you will be expected to use (digital) signal processing to filter signals and derive parameters of importance.

In summary, your task will be to contribute to the development of a new method for non-destructive water mains inspection using nonlinear acoustics. You will be responsible for conducting experiments, analyzing data, and working closely with partners to transfer knowledge to enable the implementation of this method. This is a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on society while gaining valuable experience in material science, acoustics, and signal processing.

Your profile
We are looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in the field of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or applied mathematics. Affinity with the ultrasonic field is a pre, experience with signal processing and experimental work is desired.

Keywords: nonlinear acoustics, NDT, material science, digital signal processing

Professor/University group/Wetsus supervisor(s): Dr.Ir. Richard Loendersloot (University of Twente), Dr. ir. Doekle Yntema (Wetsus)

Project partners: Smart Water Grids theme

Only applications that are complete, in English, and submitted via the application webpage before the deadline will be considered eligible.

Guidelines for applicants:

The call is closed. Please be informed that we no longer accept applications for the current call. We thank you for your interest.