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Acoustic Emission in CNG cylinder testing

Acoustic Emission in CNG cylinder testing

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EVALUATION OF THE DEFECTS IN TYPE-I CNG CYLINDER USINGACOUSTIC EMISSION TECHNIQUE
Suparerk Sirivedin
 
(1)
, Tonphong Kaewkongka
(2)
,
Jirapong Lim
(3)
(1)
King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok Bangsue, Bangkok 10800, Thailand Email :ssv@kmutnb.ac.th
 (2)
Department of Physics, Chulalongkorn UniversityPathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Email :tonphong.k@chula.ac.th
 (3)
Department of Production Engineering,King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok Bangsue, Bangkok 10800, Thailand Email : jir@kmutnb.ac.th
 
ABSTRACT
Defects on compressed natural gas (CNG) storagecylinders can often result in damage of costly cylinders.Acoustic emission (AE) testing was performed on type Isteel cylinder. These studies suggested that the elastic stresswaves or acoustic emissions generated during themicroscopic dislocation can propagate across the storagecylinder surface to be detectable by the sensors attached atthe ends of the cylinder. This paper presents a preliminarystudy on the signal transmission and propagation of acousticemission (AE) signatures across the cylinder with andwithout a predefined surface crack. During the test, agradual increase in hydrostatic pressure up to 400 bars wasapplied to the cylinder. The AE signals were recorded as afunction of time and the increased pressure. It is thereforeobvious that AE can be used to capture the defects due tocrack propagation.
 Index Terms— 
CNG Cylinder, Acoustic Emission,Surface Crack Propagation,
1. INTRODUCTION
To assure the safety of vehicles using compressednatural gas (CNG) is an important issue in Thailand. Therehave been several accidents from CNG-cylinder explosionsin the past. The periodical inspection requires the firstinspection after the cylinder has been using for 3 years.However, the inspection is normally carried out by visualinspection. Consequently, the risk is relied on the inspection by licensed professional engineers since the internal defectscannot be examined.The fully inspection can be accomplished by ultrasonictest but this method requires removal of the cylinder fromthe vehicles. Therefore, this test method is impractical dueto time-consuming and high inspection cost.Recently, acoustic emission (AE) technique has beenstandardized for gas cylinder inspection as described inISO/DIS 16148.2 [1]. Using AE technique, the inspectioncan be quickly performed without disassembling thecylinder from vehicle. However, Craig Webster [2] hasfound out that the AE test based on ISO/DIS 16148.2 isunable to evaluate defects in Type I steel cylinder. Mark P.Connelly and Han Dinh [3] proposed the AE techniquecalled “Source Location Acoustic Monitoring (SLAM)” toinspect US Postal Service vehicles. They concluded that theinspection cost for acoustic emission SLAM test is abouthalf of the cost for conventional hydrostatic test. They alsoclaimed that the SLAM test has the ability to locate both theexternal/internal flaws.Stephen J. Hudak [4] has used AE technique toevaluate remaining life-time of the cylinders. He found thatat the initial crack of about 25 percent of the wall thicknessthe cylinder has the remaining life-time for 95 years!, whilethe deeper crack of 40 percent of the wall thickness thecylinder is last for 5 years under the cyclic load caused bydaily refueling pressure ranging from 300 to 3,000 psi.A major benefit of AE inspection is that it can allowthe whole volume of the cylinder to be tested non-intrusively in a pressurized operating condition. Generally,the global AE inspection is used to identify areas with the presence of defect problems and other NDT methods arethen used to identify more precisely location and the rootcause of the AE sources.
 
The aim of this research is to study the feasibilityof condition monitoring of CNG storage cylinder using AEsensors and its propagation of the stress waves through thetype I CNG steel cylinder with and without surface crack.
2. EXPERIMENTAL APPARATUS
Acoustic emission is a natural phenomenon of stress wave generation and propagation spontaneously whena material is subjected under stress. Plastic deformation andgrowth cracks are the primary sources of acoustic emissionin metals. The acoustic signal can be detected by a piezoelectric transducer, which converts the mechanicalenergy carried by the elastic wave into an electrical signal asshown in Figure 1.The AE inspection is usually carried out during acontrolled loading or pressurization of the material or specimen. A conventional AE parameter, AE hit rate is usedto identify the presence of the acoustic emission activities produced during the microscopic failures.Figure 1 Acoustic emission systemThe resonant type of acoustic emission transducers(Holroyd Instruments, UK: Model ASS-1) are mounted onthe circumference of the surface of the valve.It provides the 100 kHz of resonant frequency whichresponses well with the material degradation andmicroscopic crack initiation. The acquired signal is thenamplified with 60 dB gain pre-amplifier.Figure 2 SIMPAL system from HolroydThe AE signal enveloper converts the amplifiedsignal to ‘rf’ signal which is digitized to personal computer for further data logging and processing. The SIMPALsystem equipment (Holroyd Instruments, UK) was used asacoustic emission data logger and processing in this work (see Figure 2). The AE data can then be captured to datalogger (PC). In the experiment, four AE sensors wereattached to the cylinder without crack (see Figure 3), andwith a surface crack (see Figure 4). Characteristic anddimensions of surface crack are shown in Figure 5.Figure 3 Installation of AE sensors on CNG cylinder 
 
 Figure 4 Installation of AE sensors on CNG cylinder with a longitudinal surface crack The cylinder used in this experiment has a capacity of 60 litres. It has a diameter of 300 mm, the length of 990mm and the averaged wall thickness of 8 mm. The cylinder was installed in a chamber of a high-pressure hydrostatictesting machine (see Figure 6).Figure 5 Surface crack characteristicThe threshold was set at 40 dB based on observed background noise. A gradual increase in hydrostatic pressure up to 400 bars was applied to the cylinder.Figure 6 Installation of CNG cylinder in a test chamber 
3. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS3.1 Hydrostatic test on CNG cylinder without crack 
A hydrostatic test with an applied pressure up to300 bars was performed on a CNG cylinder without asurface crack.
T
he parametric input indicates the pressurelevel (with the maximum voltage 10 Volt corresponding to300 bar and minimum 0 Volt corresponding to 0 bar). Thefirst acoustic emission hit rate (AE Hit Rate) was detected atthe applied pressure of 90 bars (see Fig. 7).
.01.101.000.001.002.003.004.005.006.007.008.009.0010.0011.00-1.00
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 a r   a m e  t    r  i      c 
NGV-Node 0 (11/09/2008 , 1:09:01)NGV-Node 0 (11/09/2008 , 1:09:01)Log Hit Rate vs Recorded Date/TimeLog Hit Rate vs Recorded Date/TimeRecorded Date/Time
 Figure 7
 
AE hit rate v.s. pressure
 
for CNG cylinder without surface crack 

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