Case 14660

In-Pipe Water Leak Detection Based on Pressure Gradient


Water leakage, on-site detection, concentric ring pressure sensor


Water leakage detection in water distribution networks


Water leakage can reach 30% on average of the water transported across the water distribution networks. Current water leakage detection methods can be expensive, time consuming, not accurate enough, have noise interference problems, depend on pipe material and the pipe location must be known. The widely used acoustic and noise correlators are not very effective with plastic pipes.


This invention proposes a leakage detection method that measures pressure gradients at a leak site, which is more dependable. On-site leakage detection cannot be used in the center of the pipe due to drop-off of the signal, so in this device there is a concentric ring pressure sensor that travels down the pipeline millimeters from the inner pipe surface, which carries electronics and communication devices.

  • The closeness of the sensor to the leak location enables capturing small leaks and makes the detection process independent of pipe material, depth and other environmental effects
  • Able to survey long distance pipeline in a network
  • Surveying portions of the network that are difficult to access by other techniques
  • The device can be remotely controlled inside the network

  • Professor Kamal Youcef-Toumi (Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT)
  • Atia Khalifa (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals)
  • Mohamed A. Habib (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals)
  • Dimitrios Chatzigeorgiou (Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT)
  • Rached Ben-Mansour (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals)

Intellectual Property:

US Patent Application 13/095135 filed on 4/27/2011



Last revised: November 15, 2011

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