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Reference Number NIA_SSEPD_0004
Title Ultrapole
Status Completed
Energy Categories OTHER POWER and STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES(Electricity transmission and distribution) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Physics) 50%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc (SHEPD)
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source ENA Smarter Networks
Start Date 01 April 2015
End Date 01 January 2016
Duration 9 months
Total Grant Value £45,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region Scotland
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc (SHEPD) (99.997%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , SP Energy Networks (0.001%)
Project Contact , UK Power Networks (0.001%)
Project Contact , Southern Electric Power Distribution plc (SEPD) (0.001%)
Web Site
Objectives Demonstrate the underlying physics principles can detect a change of wood condition Define the mechanical design of the prototype test rig Manufacture the prototype rig Evaluate the performance of the prototype rig in a lab environment Successfully demonstrate the ability of the underlying physics Build a prototype that is able to detect a change in wood condition
Abstract Wooden poles are used extensively throughout the utility networks to carry LV and MV cable networks across open countryside and in rural areas. Current Health & Safety legislation requires that risk assessments are regularly undertaken to assess their health status in terms of the load bearing strength of the pole, which is usually buried to a good depth in soil or tarmac. The pole may extend to several meters in height. Currently, this assessment requires the use of ladders and climbing equipment to assess the state of the pole close to its main load bearing area (the top one third of its length) and digging to assess the condition of the root of the pole. This is both time consuming and involves some risk to the operative, either in climbing or digging around the base of the structure There are currently several invasive instruments on the market for detecting wood rot, based on both acoustic (hammer in nail, tap and listen) and ultrasonic (slice shadow) technologies. Ultrasound works in this environment by detecting changes in wood density which results in an acoustic path impedance variation between different wood densities. This change can be caused by rotted fibres within the pole, or other features such as drilled holes etc. This density change produces a discernible energy reflection at the boundary which can be analysed and visualized in an instrument. To the best of our knowledge, current products on the market adopt a variety of techniques but all are restricted to detecting rot in very close proximity to the point at which the measurements are being taken. This technical project follows on from a previous IFI project that helped understand the underlying physics behind the principle of ultrasound being addressed within the project. This project will address three key equipment developmental challenges that will need to be solved to have a functioning product: 1. The development of a device configuration that can facilitate the water or gel borne coupling of the ultrasonic energy in the wooden pole, into a form that meets the portability requirements of ‘in the field’ deployment. 2. The development of a scanning head arrangement to work within the above device configuration that will provide the scanning geometry - identified during the first stage (IFI funded) - that is needed to image the entire volume of the pole. 3. The development of the initial processing and imaging SW required to, potentially, merge the images obtained from different circumferential points around the pole to provide the imagery required to enable the device operator to detect areas of rot or decay (i.e. abnormal ultrasonic regions within the pole)Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 17/12/18