Project #4326

Advanced Condition Assessment and Failure Prediction Technologies for Optimal Management of Critical Water Supply Pipes

Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Dr. Jian Zhang


This research encompasses a five-year program to enhance understanding of pipe condition and deterioration mechanisms to better predict when and where a pipe might fail, and the best method to intervene in order to extend the longevity of a pipe. The research tasks were divided into the following four activities: 

Activity 1: Failure Prediction: How, when, and where will pipes fail within the entire network? The outcomes of Activity 1 included (1) improved methods for the estimation of pipe remaining life considering available information including condition assessment data, and (2) development of practical concepts.

Activity 2: Condition Assessment: How do we assess the condition of the pipe cost effectively? The outcome of Activity 2 was a method to accurately predict sensor readings for a given geometric description of a buried large water main, and obtain the best estimate of the pipe geometry from a set of measurements based on maximum likelihood principles.

Activity 3: Corrosion Modeling: How do we calculate pipe deterioration rates accurately with respect to pipe environment? Activity 3 developed and calibrated a realistic predictive model for pipe corrosion in soil, including the collection of data sets for measured pit depths and associated soil conditions.

Activity 4: How do we assess the time-dependent probability of failure along the pipeline? Activity 4 focused on prioritizing sections of a pipeline for replacement. The probability of failure calculation is an extension of the deterministic estimation of remaining life developed in Activities 1, 2, and 3, taking into account the uncertainties in input of loading, material properties, and corrosion progression along the pipeline.

In addition to a research report detailing the findings of this effort, this project developed the Monash Tool, an Excel-based pipe stress prediction tool developed for large-diameter cast iron water pipes, which is posted below under Web Tools. In addition, 20 fact sheets were created and are posted below under Project Papers. More information about this project can be found on the project website,

Research partners: Sydney Water, Hunter Water Corporation, City West Water, Melbourne Water, South East Water Limited, Water Corporation of West Australia, South Australia Water, and UKWIR. Published in 2018.

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