Leakage is the major factor for unaccounted losses in every pipe network around the world (oil, gas or water). In most cases the deleterious effects associated with the occurrence of leaks may present serious economical and health problems. Therefore, leaks must be quickly detected, located and repaired. Unfortunately, most state of the art leak detection systems have limited applicability, are neither reliable nor robust, while others depend on user experience.
In this work we present a new in-pipe leak detection system, PipeGuard. PipeGuard performs autonomous leak detection in pipes and, thus, eliminates the need for user experience. This paper focuses on the detection module and its main characteristics. Detection in based on the presence of a pressure gradient in the neighborhood of the leak. Moreover, the proposed detector can sense leaks at any angle around the circumference of the pipe with only two sensors. We have validated the concepts by building a prototype and evaluated its performance under real conditions in an experimental laboratory setup.