Q atar Foundation established Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) in 2006 as part of its ongoing commitment to establish Qatar as a knowledge-based economy. Qatar Foundation views research as essential to national and regional growth; as the means to diversify the nation’s economy, enhance educational offerings and develop areas that affect the community, such as health and environment. 

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أنشأت مؤسسة قطر الصندوق القطري لرعاية البحث العلمي عام 2006 كجزء من التزامها المستمر بإقامة الاقتصاد القائم على المعرفة في دولة قطر. وتولي مؤسسة قطر للبحوث أهمية قصوى استنادًا إلى دورها الحيوي في تحقيق النمو سواء داخل قطر أو على الصعيد الإقليمي، وكونها وسيلة لتنويع اقتصاد البلاد، وتعزيز الفرص التعليمية، وتطوير المجالات المؤثرة في المجتمع كالصحة والبيئة.

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Sunday, December 3, 2023 7:48 PM Doha Time

QNRF-Funded Project Develops Unique Solution for Vertical Pipeline Climbing

QNRF-Funded Project Develops Unique Solution for Vertical Pipeline Climbing

The solution mimics the natural motion of a snake to solve a foremost challenge facing pipeline monitoring

There are more than 12 million kilometers of pipelines spanning the globe to meet the world’s gas and oil needs. Since these pipes are constructed from ferrous materials, they are prone to cracks and corrosion. There is also a high chance of a major failure occurring at any time in the vast network spread across various environments and terrains. These failures can endanger populations, damage the environment, and disrupt the supply of oil, gas, and other materials, which will have far-reaching consequences for various industries, and commercial and economic activities.

Hence, scheduled preventive inspections and maintenance visits are necessary to avoid any incident and ensure smooth supply operations. However, inspecting and monitoring the pipeline network present a range of complex challenges including problems accessing the pipes, assessing the problem or damage, and repairing it. While human inspections are ideal, they are not cost-effective and pose a threat to the safety of staff in remote locations. Another challenge is therefore how to extend the inspection system to cover long distances with minimum human interaction.

To solve these challenges, Dr. Mohamed Gharib from Texas A&M University at Qatar received a funding grant from QNRF under its High School Research Experience Program for a project titled, “Design and Fabrication of a Modular Python-Like Robot for Horizontal and Vertical Pipeline Inspection” (HSREP01-0428-190071). Two high school students, Abdulrahman Alsulaiti and Ibrahim Buhendi, from Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School, were selected for the project under the mentorship of Dr. Gharib.

The research group developed an innovative, lightweight modular robot powered through a guided quadcopter propulsion system to increase the efficiency of its locomotion system. To improve the robot’s mobility, the research team proposed a python-like design to enable the robot to move along a variety of pipe diameters and adapt to bends and joints, similar to the motion of a snake swallowing its prey as it moves along. The robot can also move vertically upwards and can be used for monitoring poles for repair and surveillance, a feature that is very helpful given the challenges in monitoring vertical pipelines presents a host of challenges. The design of the robot also includes a wireless system that can relay information and enable technicians and engineers to inspect the pipelines in real-time. This robot is designed independently of the inspection techniques and will transport payload modules for carrying any type of scanning system to inspect the pipeline.

Commenting on the impact of the project, Dr. Gharib remarked: “This project offers an innovative and efficient solution not only for the field of pipeline inspection but several other industries, which will benefit Qatar and the region, as well as industries around the world. The ease of deploying this robot and its cost-effectiveness suggests that it will be in high demand once it enters production.”

The research team has already received recognition for a paper that was recently accepted for publication in the proceedings of the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

“The project is also helping to develop the future generation of scientists and researchers as engaging high school students equips them with the necessary future tools to tackle real-life engineering challenges with an innovative and problem-solving mindset,” Dr. Gharib added.

«December 2023»