Ultrasonic Power Transmission and Data Communication through Metallic Barriers for Non-Destructive Testing in Hazardous Industrial Spaces
The need to inspect harsh environments and confined spaces is present in virtually all industries. Inspecting these industrial facilities are key to optimize operation and maintenance costs. Hazardous industrial spaces (e.g., confined spaces) are among the most challenging and costly areas to inspect. In BC alone, over the last decade, WorksafeBC has reported about 18 fatalities per year as the result of operation in confined spaces. To mitigate the risks, remote monitoring and inspection is an attractive alternative to conventional methods. For most of these remote monitoring and inspection applications, it is desirable to place associated sensors at designated locations inside the confined spaces. Such applications include condition monitoring and inspection of submarine hulls, space vehicles, nuclear reactors, storage tanks, oil&gas pipelines, ship tanks and many more. The challenge that arises is establishing a reliable communication with the sensors embedded within the confined space. On the one hand, drilling holes on the structure for wired communication introduces serious structural integrity concerns (this is further exacerbated for nuclear reactors, submarines, ship tanks, FPSOs and semisubmersibles). On the other hand, thick metallic enclosures inhibit conventional electromagnetic-based wireless communication with the embedded sensors.