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Coded Excitation of Ultrasound for Improved Signal Acquisition in Pipeline Inspection Robots

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the field of development of advanced non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques leading to the award of an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) degree.

The aim of this doctoral research is to evaluate the uses of coded sequences for applications in inline inspection robots. Inline pipeline inspections guarantee the integrity of critical energy infrastructure with minimal service interruption. NDT Global, the sponsor of this project, is one leading provider of such inspection services. The company develops and operates specialized robots that operate autonomously over more than 100km at propagation speed of several m/s recording large volumes of ultrasound data. Under specific pipeline conditions, reception of reliable ultrasound signals is challenging due to very low signal to noise ratio (SNR). In addition, due to high propagation speed of the robot and dense integration of transducers, operating a large number of ultrasonic transducers in parallel can result in undesired cross-talk which impairs data quality. The Imperial NDE group has recently presented work on coded excitation of ultrasonic signals in order to reduce the power input and improve the final signal to noise ratio in ultrasound signals.

Project objectives:
 investigate the effect of the sequence design on SNR and Dynamic Range of the measurements under the constraints of realistic robot operation conditions, e.g., travel speed and received signal power.
 explore the effect of the number of transducers that can be simultaneously used with the particular sets of coded sequences and the resulting opportunities to improve robot speed and/or transducer density in an ultrasound module on the robot. Furthermore, changes to the coding will be analysed to see if they can be optimized for specific inspection conditions.
 assess the type of electronics hardware that is required to build an effective acquisition system.

The student will be based at Imperial College London and will travel to the company’s offices in Aberdeen, UK, and Stutensee, Germany, for research visits.

Further Particulars
The studentship is offered through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Innovation in NDE (FIND CDT) which is a partnership between a select group of universities and companies offering a 4-year Engineering doctorate designed to launch outstanding graduates into an engineering career. With close links to the related UK Research Centre in NDE, students are part of a vibrant community of more than 200 researchers and have access to a range of technical training courses delivered by world leading experts.

The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK/EU student rate) provided by EPSRC, together with a generous top up by the sponsor company, NDT Global.

Candidate Requirements
Applicants must hold a minimum of an upper 2nd class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering, Physics or a related subject.

Basic skills and knowledge required.
An enquiring and rigorous approach to research together with a strong intellect and disciplined work habits. Good team-working, observational and communication skills are essential.

Informal enquiries
For further details, please contact Prof Michael Lowe, or

Application Details
Prior to application Interested applicants should send an up-to-date CV to .

Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be checked by College Registry. The student will also be required to obtain UK security clearance.

Funding Notes

Scholarship covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to application) PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of a minimum £20,000 subject to contracts and eligibility criteria.

Candidates can check the eligibility criteria for the award at View Website

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