Evaluation of Lead Pipe Detection Methods

Jun 9, 2019
Project Update

The goal of this work is to find a technique to detect lead pipe without excavation. The technique identified is the resistance measurement of a pipe. Lead has a significantly higher resistivity than copper, and it is expected that the resistance of a pipe with portions of lead will be much higher than if the pipe was entirely made of copper. The theoretical value for the resistivity of copper is 1.71x10-8 Ω⋅m, while it is 21.3x10-8 Ω⋅m for lead, a ratio of 12.5. The resistance of samples of copper and lead pipes removed from the field was measured. The values for the resistivity were measured at 2.13x10-8 Ω⋅m for copper, and 14.3x10-8 Ω⋅m for lead. While the resistivity of copper increases and the one from lead decreases, the two values are still very distinguishable by a ratio of 7. After conclusive experimentation in the laboratory, testing in the field has begun. The equipment used for laboratory experiments was modified for usage in the field.

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