Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
December 2006 Issue
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Longer life for pipelines


The University of Adelaide will play a major role in enhancing the reliability and longevity of Australia's pipeline transmission industry thanks to a $695,000 grant announced by the Federal Government.

The Australian Pipeline Industry Association (APIA) has been granted the funds for a collaborative research project with the University of Adelaide and a number of other major Australian research institutions.

Matched dollar-for-dollar by the private sector, the three-year research project represents an investment of more than $1.4 million in enhancing the future performance of Australia's pipeline system.

"The knowledge and skills gained from this research program will not only benefit Australia but also the rest of the world," said APIA's Chief Executive, Ms Cheryl Cartwright.

"We expect the program will eventually lead to Australian pipeline transmission know-how being exported to many other countries, paving the way for the delivery of natural gas and petroleum in the most reliable and efficient manner possible," she said.

"In relation to natural gas, success in enhancing pipeline performance will help reduce transmission costs and further increase the appeal of this environmentally friendly fuel."

The research grant was announced by South Australian Senator and Federal Immigration Minister, the Hon. Amanda Vanstone, at an APIA function at the University of Adelaide.

The research program entails seven projects and will, at various stages, also involve Monash and Curtin universities, and research organisations such as CSIRO and ANSTO.

The key researchers involved in this work at the University of Adelaide are Professor Valerie Linton and Dr Erwin Gamboa, both from the School of Mechanical Engineering.

The research will encompass:

  • Improved quality of steel for manufacture of pipelines
  • Improved pipeline construction techniques and better quality control
  • Better and longer-lasting coatings and other improved techniques to prevent corrosion and leaks
  • Improved resistance to damage caused by excavators and earth-moving equipment

The University of Adelaide is closely involved in two of the seven research projects: to assess and develop methods to repair pipelines affected by stress corrosion cracking; and to determine the level and influence of boron in weld deposits produced using commercial welding electrodes, used in the construction of high-pressure Australian pipelines.

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