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Abs. 732, 204th Meeting, 2003 The Electrochemical Society, Inc.

Assessment of Pipeline Condition Using

Heterogeneous Input Data

gi ( x , , ) =

Chenchen Qiu and Mark E. Orazem

Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, 32611-6005


j =0


xj )


where x j is the measured value and x j is the value

calculated using the forward model. The weighting 2

reflects the assumed or measured variance of the data.

Buried pipelines are often protected from corrosion by a

barrier coating augmented by cathodic protection.
Pipeline surveys are normally used to determine the
adequacy of cathodic protection for coated underground
pipes. The results of such surveys can indicate where a
pipeline is inadequately protected. These surveys may
include, among others, potential measurements, line
current measurements, and soil resistivity measurements.
While each of these measurements can provide some level
of insight into the pipe coating condition, it is still difficult
to get a precise understanding of actual conditions along
the pipeline. These difficulties are compounded when
there is a significant scatter or noise in the data.

For a heterogeneous data set, e.g., one that includes

distributions of soil surface on-potentials and current
density in the pipe, the objective function

The objective of the present work was to establish an

infrastructure for interpretation of field data in a manner
that is consistent with the principles of current and
potential distribution near buried pipelines.

The objective function (3) is general and can be used for

any type of heterogeneous data set.

Some commercially available programs (e.g., PROCAT1,

OKAPPI2, and CP3D3,4) can be used to calculate the
distribution of current and potential on the pipe and to
determine whether a pipeline with an assumed coating
condition can be protected by a given CP design. These
programs are termed forward models because they yield
current and potential distributions corresponding to an
assumed coating condition. Such forward models can be
contrasted to inverse models, which yield the coating
condition corresponding to measured current and potential
The present approach would allow interpretation of field
data in a manner that takes into account the physical laws
that constrain the flow of electrical current from anode to
pipe. Aoki et al.5 developed an inverse model, which
could estimate parameters for a polarization curve given
potential data on a soil surface. Inverse models have also
been used to optimize the location of CP anodes for pipes,
ships and reinforcing steel in concrete.6,7
The present work introduces several unique features. In
order to reduce the number of unknown parameters in the
inverse calculation, the coating condition on the pipe was
modeled in terms of contributions of discrete coating
defects as

2 k

k =0

( x xk )

= 0 + k exp


where is the local coating resistivity, 0 is the nominal

resistivity of a defect-free coating, xk is the defect
location, k is the defect width, and k is the reduction in
coating resistivity associated with the defect.
The presence of stochastic errors, or noise, in the field
measurements was addressed by using a nonlinear
weighted regression. The objective function for a
particular classification of data, e.g., soil potential values
obtained while the CP system is connected to the pipe, can
be expressed as

g ( x, , ) = i gi


was used where i provides a weighting for the type of

data. The weighting function could be selected on the
basis of the sensitivity of the data to pipe condition. In the
present work, the weighting function i was chosen such



The model is demonstrated for synthetic data generated

for a section of a coated underground pipeline electrically
connected to a vertical sacrificial anode. The success of
the regression was sensitive to the relative weighting
applied in the objective function to the respective types of
data. To date, the model has been applied only to
synthetic data, but this work demonstrates the feasibility
of coupling a boundary element forward model with a
nonlinear regression algorithm to obtain pipe surface
properties from pipeline survey data.

This work was supported in part by the Pipeline Research
Council International, Inc., through contract PR-1019917.

1 P. J. C. F. Telles, W. J. Mansur, L. C. Wrobel, and M. G.

Marinho, Corrosion, 46 (1990) 513.
2 F. Brichau, J. Deconinck, and T. Driesens, Corrosion, 52
(1996) 480.
3 D. P. Riemer and M. E. Orazem, Corrosion, 56 (2000)
4 D. P. Riemer, Modeling Cathodic Protection for Pipeline
Networks, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida (2000).
5 K. Amaya, J. Togashi, and S. Aoki, JSEM International
Journal Series A-Mechanic and Material Engineering, 38
(1995), 541.
6 S. Aoki and K. Amaya, Engineering Analysis with
Boundary Elements, 19 (1997), 147.
7 M. Ridha, K. Amaya, and S. Aoki, Corrosion, 57 (2001),