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Proposed NDT of Coiled Tube

There are various testing techniques that can be used to evaluate coil tubes life and to measure the
extent of damage done during operation. However, because coil tubes length can exceed 5000m it is
impossible to detect defects in coil tubes using regular techniques such as liquid penetrant testing or
Magnetic particle inspection.
A Technique is required that can detect defects/flaws produced in Coil tubes during operation. After
extensive literature survey we have narrowed down our search to guidedwavetechnique(GWT).
employs mechanical stress waves that propagate along an elongated structure while guided by its
boundaries. This allows the waves to travel a long distance with little loss in energy. No surface
the inspection of metallic pipelines around the world. In some cases, hundreds of meters can be
Although Guided wave testing is also commonly known as Guided Wave Ultrasonic Testing
(GWUT) or Long Range Ultrasonic Testing (LRUT), it is fundamentally very different from
Guided wave inspection of pipelines is now in routine use worldwide. The technique offers the
possibility of rapid screening of long lengths of pipework for corrosion and other defects. A test range of
50m or more is commonly obtained from a single transducer position. Long range guided wave
inspection techniques are also in development for several other applications, including the detection of
corrosion in large areas of plates, the detection of cracking in railway lines, the detection of cracking in
rock bolts, and the detection of corrosion in heat exchanger tubing.
In this Report We have studied the compatibility and feasibility of this technique when used with
coil tubing operations and discussed various advantages and disadvantages of the process.

1 Working Principal
Unlike conventional ultrasonic, there are an infinite number of guided wave modes that exist for
pipe geometry, and they can be generally grouped into three families, namely the torsional, longitudinal
and flexural modes. The acoustic properties of these wave modes are a function of the pipe geometry,
the material and the frequency. Predicting these properties of the wave modes often rely on heavy
mathematical modeling, which are typically presented in graphical plots called Dispersion curves.

Figure 1 - Difference between conventional Ultrasonic testing and

Guided wave technique

In Guided Wave Testing of pipelines, an array of low frequency transducers is attached around
the circumference of the pipe to generate an axially symmetric wave that propagates along the pipe in
both the forward and backward directions of the transducer array. The Torsional wave mode is most
commonly used, although there is limited use of the longitudinal mode. The equipment operates in a
pulse-echo configuration where the array of transducers is used for both the excitation and detection of
the signals.

Figure 2 - A Schematic of Guided Wave Technique

At a location where there is a change of cross-section or a change in local stiffness of the pipe, an
echo is generated. Based on the arrival time of the echoes, and the predicted speed of the wave mode at a
particular frequency, the distance of a feature in relation to the position of the transducer array can be
accurately calculated. GWT uses a system of distance amplitude curves (DAC) to correct for attenuation
and amplitude drops when estimating the cross-section change (CSC) from a reflection at a certain
distance. The DACs are usually calibrated against a series of echoes with known signal amplitude such
as weld echoes.

A typical result of GWT is displayed in an A-scan style with the reflection amplitude against the
distance from the transducer array position. In the past few years, some advanced systems have started
to offer C-scan type results where the orientation of each feature can be easily interpreted. This has
shown to be extremely useful when inspecting large size pipelines.

Figure 3- A typical example of the GWT data showing both the A-scan type (bottom) and
the C-scan type (top) results. The green band indicates the position of the transducer array.

2. Guided wave technique for inspecting

Coil Tube
Guided wave technology is ideal for Coil tube as it can cover long ranges. Coil tubes can be of
length exceeding 5000 meters hence making it impossible for conventional NDT techniques to cover the
whole coil tube. Coil tube when in-service is very similar to pipes. Therefore Guided wave technique,
which has become very popular for use in pipelines, can be applied to Coil tubes. Currently coil tubes
are not being inspected and their life is dependent on the suppliers warranty.
After reviewing various NDT techniques being employed in various sectors of oil industry and other
newly developed techniques used for inspecting materials using long-range techniques. We settled on the
most economical, feasible and compatible technique that can be used with coil tubing process.
Guided wave technique apparatus, which covers the circumference of pipe, can be permanently installed
around CT Injector to inspect the material when required. Because a single scan covers only a length a

Figure 5 - coil tubing apparatus. place of injector head.

Figure 6 - A typical guided wave transducer system

process can also be devised through which we can take results periodically when coil tube is being
withdrawn. This way we can cover the initial length of coil tube where failure is most likely to occur

2.1. Methodology
1. Generatingaguidedacousticpulsethattravelsalongthecoil.
2. Allowingthepulsetotravelthecoilandbereflectedbydamage.
3. Measuringandrecordingdataonreflections.
4. Evaluatingdatatodeterminethepositionandamountofdamage.
1 Generating an Acoustic Pulse
Generating and altering a controlled dynamic magnetic field around the coil tube will create precise
guided waves, which will travel across the coil tube. Placing a ribbon coil around the tube and clamping
a magnet to the tube will generate the magnetic field. The inspection can be performed at any convenient
location and only requires access at one location along the tube.
2.1.1. Allowing the pulse to travel the tube
Steel is an excellent acoustic medium. The acoustic pulse travels along the steel at approximately 3
miles per second. When the pulse encounters damage in the form of cracks, pitting or reduced cross
section, a portion of the pulse will be reflected and will travel back toward the source. Objects in contact
with the tube will also generate reflections.
2.1.2. Measuring and recording data
By reversing the process used to generate the acoustic pulse, through the inversemagnetostrictive effect.
The presence and quantity of reflections can be measured and recorded. This measurement is performed
at the same location where the pulse was generated.

2.1.3. Evaluating Data

By evaluating the size and pattern of reflections compared to the initial pulse, both the position and
relative amount of damage can be estimated.


Figure 7 - A typical arrangement of guided wave technique apparatus

Advantages of using GWT for coil Tube

Following are the advantages of using guided wave technique for NDT of Coil Tube:

Rapid screening with 100 % coverage.

Detection of internal and external wall loss.
Focusing capability to evaluate corrosion distribution around pipe circumference.
Reliable detection for metal loss (corrosion/erosion) even underneath insulation.
Ideal where conventional testing is impossible or very costly, e.g., clamped, insulated, elevated
or buried pipes, road crossings, offshore pipes, etc.
Testing of elevated or complex piping from convenient locations.
Fully automated data collection protocols.
Integral battery operation.

Although the length of coil tube can be longer then 5000m, however, with GWT we can only test the
tube up to 200 m with accuracy. Through research it has been found hat failure in coil tubing occurs
mostly in the upper part of its length. That is the upper 1500m of coil tube. Therefore it is important to
cover this part for NDT. Because GWT is a rapid screening process we can achieve results faster then
any other technique yet developed.
Coil tubing fails because of flaws both externally and internally. Pitting due to corrosion, mechanical
damage, and fatigue are few reasons why coil tube gets damaged from both inside and outside. With
GWT we will be able to detect flaws from outer diameter to inner diameter, on surface and inside the

coil tube. Not only can we detect corrosion distribution around the circumference of tube but we can
also detect any metal loss occurring internally and externally.
Coil tube can also tested while its still in operation, therefore making it extremely easy and
economical to conduct NDT. This will also save time as we wont have to draw coil tube out of wells for
inspection which in return will save time and fatigue induced due to repeatedly coiling the tube. Guided
wave techniques apparatus can also be arranged in such a fashion that it can be permanently installed to
the coil tubing process, as it is extremely rapid and portable.

2.3. Disadvantage of GWT

guided wave technique, it
downsides such as:

Figure 8 - Typical guided wave testing arrangement for pipes

numerous benefits of
does come with a few


The disadvantages are few and are insignificant compared to the advantages as they can be countered
without much effort. Engineers can be trained to interpret data and after more extensive research a
process can be devised to inspect coil tube efficiently

3. References









Vinogradov, S. Development of Enhanced guided wave screening using broadband

magnetostrictive transducer and nonlinear signal processing. In Proceedings of the Fourth