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The University of Southampton

Research project: Control of biofouling in water pipes using guided waves

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A major issue for the water industry in a number of countries, including the UK, is the attachment of large populations of mussels to the inside of pipe walls causing significant flow resistance.

A novel and chemical-free solution to this problem might be to vibrate the pipe wall, either to overcome their adhesion to the surface or to discourage their attachment in the first place.

The aim of this project is to explore the feasibility of disturbing mussels in an environmentally friendly manner by injecting ‘guided waves’ into the pipe wall. In particular, the wave energy will be focused at movable target positions to compensate for attenuation along the pipe due to energy losses which would otherwise limit an actuator’s range.  This project involves modelling of wave propagation in fluid-filled pipes using semi-analytical and numerical techniques, and both laboratory and field measurements.

Photo by Gemma Grace
Photo by Gemma Grace

Related research groups

Dynamics Group
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