Security and safety aspects

Security is of existential importance for modern industrial companies when it comes to securing water supplies and safeguarding water management infrastructures. The security services offered by the Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance include

  • hazard analyses
  • concepts for preventing, detecting and resisting acts of aggression
  • protective measures to keep the effects of natural catastrophes (such as floods, droughts and earthquakes) to a minimum and to deal efficiently with the after-effects.

This research field is subject to special confidentiality criteria and requirements.

The direct prevention methods developed and adapted by the Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance are systems for testing and monitoring the condition of pipeline systems, reservoirs and buildings. To date

  • ultrasound
  • eddy current
  • thermography and
  • microwave methods

have been developed to detect cracks and corrosion in pipes and reservoirs.

Methods and combinations of methods are adapted to test the different kinds of material in use such as metal, plastic and concrete, and to design specific sensors and test systems. Sensors can be moved across the test area from outside or be inserted into pigs for internal examinations. Electromagnetic ultrasonic sensors generate guided waves for a long range inspection of pipe segments buried under the earth if part of the pipe is accessible from above for sensor application.

Buildings made of stone or concrete can be inspected and monitored at regular time intervals with e.g. microwave or NMR methods to characterize moisture. Thermographic and ultrasound methods detect cracks and inhomogeneity in structures, and electromagnetic technologies localize steel reinforcement and characterize its current condition. The Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance also offers special test services by combining new developments with conventional systems already on the market.

The Alliance’s totally non-destructive and almost non-destructive testing methods help operators to provide their customers with a reliable high-quality supply of that valuable dwindling resource: water.