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Posted on May 12, 2011 by  & 

Self powering robot detects leaks in water pipes

Leaking water pipes can pose serious problems for cities all over the world. US water leaks total about six billion gallons per day, according to the American Water Works Association. Billions of litres of clean drinking water can be lost through leaking pipes but searching for leaks can be a costly process as streets need to be opened up and roads and pavements rebuilt, whilst causing issues with traffic diversion and shutting off the water supply for the duration of the repair.
These problems can be avoided by using 'TubeBot', an autonomous maintenance robot designed for use in the piping of urban drinking water systems. TubeBot can detect defects and breaches in underground water pipes by scanning a length of the piping system and sending data to a remote location. The leak is located and can be repaired by opening up the smallest amount of street necessary, rather than breaking up roadways the entire length of the pipe.
TubeBot generates the electricity to power itself by harnessing the pressure that exists in the pipes. It uses turbines at either end to move through pipes and the coordination of the radial and axial expanders allows a worm-like movement through the pipe. No additional energy is required. A similar principle is used on superyachts by Callender Designs, Grove Boats and others that scoop water into hydroturbines when under sail, an afternoon's sailing being enought to charge the battery supplying one week of air conditioning, light and other hotel facilities in the vessel. Designed by Josef Niedermeier, Jonathan Herrle and Ralf Kittmann, Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin students, TubeBot still needs considerable research to enable it to fit into the smaller pipes leading off from main pipes of the water stations before it is available for purchase.
Credit and image: Braun

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Posted on: May 12, 2011

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