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Shock and Vibration
Volume 2015, Article ID 165304, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/165304
Research Article

Automatic Leak Detection in Buried Plastic Pipes of Water Supply Networks by Means of Vibration Measurements

1Advanced Applications in Mechanical Engineering & Materials Technology, University of Bologna, Viale del Risorgimento 2, 40136 Bologna, Italy
2Department of Engineering for Industry, University of Bologna, Viale del Risorgimento 2, 40136 Bologna, Italy

Received 27 October 2014; Accepted 5 January 2015

Academic Editor: Kenneth J. Loh

Copyright © 2015 Alberto Martini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The implementation of strategies for controlling water leaks is essential in order to reduce losses affecting distribution networks of drinking water. This paper focuses on leak detection by using vibration monitoring techniques. The long-term goal is the development of a system for automatic early detection of burst leaks in service pipes. An experimental campaign was started to measure vibrations transmitted along water pipes by real burst leaks occurring in actual water supply networks. The first experimental data were used for assessing the leak detection performance of a prototypal algorithm based on the calculation of the standard deviation of acceleration signals. The experimental campaign is here described and discussed. The proposed algorithm, enhanced by means of proper signal filtering techniques, was successfully tested on all monitored leaks, thus proving effective for leak detection purpose.