Catalog Item

S&T Project 22064 Final Report No. ST-2023-22064-02: Robotic Non-Destructive Inspection of Hydraulic Steel Structures

Reclamation performs non-destructive testing on penstocks, pressure conduits, pressure vessels, and other equipment as part of periodic inspection requirements to survey for metal loss and corrosion. For example, FIST Manual 4-1A requires that detailed inspections be conducted on penstocks and pressure conduits be inspected every 5-10 years. This includes a visual inspection and ultrasonic thickness (UT) survey. The current standard of practice is to collect UT readings manually. New technology allows for remote inspection vehicles (RIVs) to collect a large sampling of data on a structure to provide greater insight into the structure’s overall condition at a rate much faster than a human as it traverses the interior of a pipe. This technology has the potential to give a more complete picture of the metal loss resulting from corrosion on a pipe or penstock while decreasing risk to personnel. RIVs were demonstrated at three Reclamation facilities to gain a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations as well as how the technology can be deployed at Reclamation. While the current RIV technology has some limitations, it may be possible to supplement Reclamation’s current approach to condition assessment in penstocks, outlet works, steel lined siphons, and other steel structures with robotics to yield more useful information on the structure’s overall condition. Development of RIV technology is continually improving and these methods are expected to become more practical for a broader array of use cases in the future.
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Generation Effort S&T Project 22064: Robotic Non-Destructive Inspection of Hydraulic Streel Structures
Location Name Western US
Type Uploaded file(s)
File Type PDF
Publisher Bureau of Reclamation
Publication Date Thursday, June 15th, 2023
Update Frequency not planned
Last Update Thursday, November 16th, 2023


The findings and conclusions of this work are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Bureau of Reclamation.