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A new leak detection system which will enable plumbers to accurately identify damaged water pipes has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield.
The ground-breaking invention in the plumbing industry is set to significantly improve leak detection, reduce wasted water supply and help plumbers save both, time and money in carrying out repairs.
The new pipes testing system works by transmitting pressure waves along them and sends back a signal if it passes any leaks or cracks in the pipes’ surface. The strength of that signal can then be analysed to determine the location and the size of the leak.
According to the Water Services Regulation Authority (OFWAT) as much as 40 per cent of water supply is being lost through leaky pipes each year. The invention has been developed in partnership with the University’s Department of Civil Structural Engineering (DCSE) and Yorkshire Water
The device has now been trialled at Yorkshire Water’s field operators training site in Bradford and results show that it offers a reliable and accurate method of leak testing. Leaks in cast iron pipes were located accurately to within one metre, while leaks in plastic pipes were located even more precisely, to within 20cm, the University said in a statement today.
Commenting on the invention, Dr James Shucksmith, who led the trial at the DCSE, said: “We are very excited by the results we’ve achieved so far: we are able to identify the location of leaks much more accurately and rapidly than existing systems are able to, meaning water companies will be able to save both time and money in carrying out repairs.”
Dr Shucksmith explained that the system has already delivered very promising results at Yorkshire Water and that they look forward to find an industrial partner to develop the device to the point where it can be manufactured commercially.
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