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CEED Project Abstracts 2012-2013

School of Civil and Resource Engineering

  • 3D CFD Investigation of Seabed Shear Stresses Around Subsea Pipelines
  • Scenario Modelling Outcomes in an Electric Power Distribution Network
  • Validation of Cast Iron Pipe Modelling
  • 3D CFD Investigation of Large O-Tube Facility

School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering

  • Maintaining Bitterns Infiltration at Solar Salt Operation
  • Investigation of Reinforced Concrete Water Main Joint Failures
  • Conveyor Belt Wear Life Modelling
  • Wear Property and Impact Test Rig Designs for Comparing Wear Liners Used in Transfer Chutes
  • The Value of WA Native Forests and Bushland
  • Belt Feeder Head Load Investigation
  • Optimal Machining of Rio Tinto's Train Wheels
  • Analysing and Visualising Risk Network

School of Electrical, Electronic ad Computer Engineering

  • Wireless Technology for Process Measurement on Oil and Gas Facilities
  • Analysis of Testing Methodologies for High Voltage Electrical Assets

School of Computer Science and Software Engineering

  • Thermodynamic Modelling of Subsea Heat Exchangers


3D CFD Investigation of Seabed Shear Stresses Around Subsea Pipelines

Zhe Zan
School of Civil and Resource Engineering
JP Kenny

Field observations on offshore pipelines indicate that local scour due to sediment transport around subsea pipelines laid on erodible seabed is almost inevitable.  Conventional offshore design strategies usually assume that the pipelines are stably placed on a relatively stationary seabed, which fails to take into consideration the potential instability of the seabed profile. As a major forcing mechanism for sediment transport, seabed shear stresses may dominate seabed deformation. Nevertheless, little work has been undertaken to research shear-stress-induced seabed deformation in the vicinity of pipelines and thence the consequences for subsea pipeline design. This project seeks to provide a 3D view of seabed shear stresses for different seabed topographies under various flow situations. With a view of modifying the existing two-dimensional PSF model, computational fluid dynamics modelling in FLUENT with DES k?-SST turbulence model and user defined velocity boundary conditions have been performed to achieve the objectives. Based on the results, some valuable conclusions about variation seabed shear stresses and sediment transport due to flow inclination and variation in scour hole geometry can be drawn. 

Scenario Modelling Outcomes in an Electric Power Distribution Network

Quentin Wreford
School of Civil and Resource Engineering
Western Power

Electrical power distribution networks are complex systems comprising multiple classes of assets with varying costs, risks, interactions and interdependencies.  The aim of this project is to determine cost-optimal locations, timing and proportions of section block (group) rebuild and individual asset remediation in the Western Power distribution network.  Scenario Modelling is used to aggregate the treatment of individual assets in order to calculate lifetime costs for entire sections of the network.  The model projects the present-day network over a long-term (to+ year) time horizon and forecasts asset interactions, replacement timing, capital expenditure and operational costs for a range of section rebuild and asset replacement strategies.  The results of this analysis indicate that a greater focus on block rebuild as opposed to a discrete asset replacement strategy can produce significant cost savings in electrical distribution networks while meeting existing network performance and risk requirements.  The modelling results demonstrate that the cost benefit of section rebuild varies across the network due to its heterogeneous composition.

Validation of Cast Iron Pipe Modelling

Zhou Pan
School of Civil and Resource Engineering
Water Corporation

Cast Iron (CI) pipe failure can have environmental, economic and social consequences. The Water Corporation has spent approximately AUD 10 million on fixing cast iron pipe failures in the past 12 years. The objectives of this project are to identify factors influencing cast iron pipe deterioration, explore relationships between these factors and CI pipe burst numbers of small and large CI pipes and develop statistical models to assist Water Corporation CI pipe condition assessment and replacement program. Log-linear model and Cox proportional hazard model indicate that CI pipe burst numbers and deterioration rates primarily depend on physical variables such as pipe age and diameter, and environmental variables such as soil aggressiveness and pipe location. Small CI pipes installed during 1930-1950, located in more aggressive soil environments and distributed along the Swan River and coast tend to have a higher number of  bursts. Large pipes located in acid sulphate soil with high risk of corrosion or more aggressive soil environment have more bursts.

3D CFD Investigation of Large O-Tube Facility

Dan Ni
School of Civil and Resource Engineering
Woodside Energy Limited

After undertaking a number of phases of research testing in the Large O-tube Facility (LOT) based at UWA’s Shenton Park campus, it was discovered that the hydrodynamic forces measured on the mid-pipe bracelet of pressure transducers differs to published industry models. Thus numerical modelling of the LOT test section is proposed in order to improve understanding of the causes of these differences. To achieve the objective of this project, DesignModeller and Fluent are used to model the Large O-tube Facility and run the simulation. This project aims to analyse hydrodynamic forces on the model pipe and seabed shear stresses around the pipe under different flow conditions. As shown in this report, 2-D simulations were done first, to test the reliability of the computational domain. Then a 3-D domain was developed, and the seabed shear stress contour and vector plot nicely described the flow pattern upstream and downstream of the pipe. That explained why the soil backfilling in the lee of the pipe has a “W” profile in LOT test. Drag and lift forces were also calculated based on the results of 3-D simulation.

Maintaining Bitterns Infiltration at Solar Salt Operation

Siang Jin Low
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Shark Bay Resources

Shark Bay Resources (SBR) operates a solar salt field at Useless Loop in Shark Bay, Western Australia. The current practice for bitterns and washery waste liquors disposal uses a seepage (infiltration) pond system, moving bitterns liquors through disposal ponds, F7 and F5. Crystallisation of sodium chloride, gypsum and an unknown salt structure that has occurred on and below the floor of F7 has caused a decline in seepage rate and infiltration for the past two years. The project seeks to investigate the chemistry of the pond system and the physical conditions at which the crystallisation occurs. One of the objectives of the project is also to find out the depth of the crystal structure and characterize the crystallisation occurring in the underlying strata beneath the base of the pond. X-ray diffraction (XRD) is being used for sample analysis with access from Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA). The results obtained from XRD will provide a quantitative analysis of the amount and type of crystals present. These results will serve as a guideline for future approaches to determine the porosity and permeability mechanisms in the pond system and possible practical solutions to maintain the current infiltration practice.

Investigation of Reinforced Concrete Water Main Joint Failures

Thomas Littlechild
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Water Corporation

This project seeks to discover the primary causes of joint failure and to develop tools for the prediction of the failure of joints still in service. These tools will contribute significantly to the creation of an effective asset life cycle management strategy for the remaining reinforced concrete water mains. This will provide more accurate cost forecasting for the Asset Management Branch and will help to reduce the whole of life cost of their assets. Early analysis indicates that the majority of joint failures are caused by the rubber O-ring within the joint failing in its sealing capacity. The possible reasons for the loss of sealing capacity include a loss of elasticity, a loss of profile, rupture or a combination of these mechanisms. All mechanisms are thought to be affected by the ageing behaviour of rubber. As a result the effects of ageing on the mechanical properties of rubber are a focus of this study.

Conveyor Belt Wear Life Modelling

Callum Webb
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
BHP-Billiton Iron Ore

BHP Billiton Iron Ore (the client) owns and operates over three hundred conveyor systems with a total length exceeding two hundred kilometres across its operations in the Pilbara region. The current approach to estimating remaining life of conveyor belts is based on extrapolating thickness worn per unit of time. This has several limitations, such as failing to consider changes in conveyor utilisation or downtime. Five alternative measures of wear rate for conveyor belts have been formulated and investigated. Analysis of data from 114 belts installed on 22 different conveyor systems has shown that these alternatives provide better support for predicting remaining belt life compared to the traditional approach. In particular, throughput based wear rates produce models with greater explanatory power and capture changes in conveyor utilisation and downtime. Predictive models based on all six wear definitions have been developed using multiple linear regression, providing tools for forecasting belt replacements based on conveyor design and operational parameters.

Wear Property and Impact Test Rig Designs for Comparing Wear Liners Used in Transfer Chutes

Genevieve Malone
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
BHP-Billiton Iron Ore

BHP Billiton Iron Ore is in the process of selecting wear liners for installation in their transfer chutes. Wear liners are chosen to maximise service life, while minimising maintenance costs and downtime. Since there are many types available, it is desirable to obtain empirical evidence from preliminary wear tests prior to making final selections for site trials.  The purpose of this project was to develop laboratory tests that could be applied to full sized wear liner samples to compare their abrasion and impact resistance. A large scale Dry Sand Rubber Wheel abrasion test was designed and constructed at UWA, accommodating the large samples whilst simulating the required abrasion mechanism. Furthermore, a new method for quantifying abrasive wear using surface replication techniques was attempted. This showed that the need to weigh samples could be eliminated if the abrasion test produces a clearly defined wear scar. A drop-weight impact test rig was also constructed, to investigate impact resistance. Preliminary tests and surface examination indicated that forces required to cause observable microcracking were greater than those able to be created using this test rig.

The Value of WA Native Forests and Bushland

David Ho
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Woodside Energy Limited

EcoNomics™ is an enterprise-wide framework created by WorleyParsons that ensures profitable integration of sustainability into customers’ projects and operating assets. The project is to conduct a non-market valuation study based on the environmental, economic and social attributes on Western Australia’s native forests and bushland. In particular, the two regions of interest are the Pilbara and the Southwest due to their commodity richness. The need for this data is to service the growing desire across Government and the private sector to have quantifiable data on the value of environmental systems as part of investment planning. The objectives of this project are to acquire biodiversity values on both regions in the form of dollar value per hectare that can then be transferred to a cost benefit analysis across multiple projects with different attributes. A Choice Modelling non-market valuation technique is adopted to obtain these values.

Belt Feeder Head Load Investigation

Leo Allen
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Rio Tinto Iron Ore

A recent increase in the number of belt feeder downtime events at the Client’s sites and a changing economic environment has prompted the need for a better understanding of belt feeder resistance loads occurring at site. A better understanding of the loads actually occurring at site will be used to make recommendations on how the current design process could be improved.  The Bruff and TUNRA methods currently used for belt feeder design were reviewed and used to predict the pressure of the belt feeder hydraulic drive system for a range of initial fill bin levels.  Trials were then carried out at one of the Client’s iron ore sites to verify these design predictions over a range of bin levels.  The results of the trial indicate that the current design methods significantly over-predict belt feed resistance.  These prediction methods also fail to predict the relationship between initial start-up pull out force and initial fill bin level.  The results suggest that an arched stress field is partially formed in the hopper during the filling process resulting in significantly lower initial pull-out forces.  This implies that a smaller drive system could have been used for this particular application, potentially resulting in significantly reduced installation costs.  The results do not, however, provide enough evidence to be able to confidently state that the pull-out force on a belt feeder in a different application would also be significantly less than the TUNRA prediction.  Further trials need to be done, and the results from this project have shown that further investigation is warranted.

Optimal Machining of Rio Tinto's Train Wheels

Karl Langham
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
BHP-Billiton Iron Ore

This project was initiated to provide input into a review of Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s ore car wheel set maintenance tactics. The project has collated data from trackside and maintenance equipment to examine the wear rates of wheels, the time to first repair and mean time between repair. From the initial sample of 20 wheel sets it has been found that the majority of repairs occur well inside the 2 year planned period. In addition the project has identified a number of issues with the way data is stored and recorded and aims to validate the accuracy of some of the data sources.

Analysing and Visualising Risk Networks

Xiaoyi Lu
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Corporate Governance Risk

The project is designed to detect the hidden relationships between risks, model them and visualise them. The technique is based on a mixture of text clustering and text classification. Firstly, the raw risks are preprocessed and transformed into the desired format. Then Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) is applied to the risks as a cluster technique to discover the hidden thematic topics that can be used to group risks. After obtaining the topic structure, new risks can be classified into these topicsusing techniques like Naïve Bayes (NB). The approach is able to not only model the relationships between existing risks, but also model the relationsihps between “new” risks and “old” risks. In addition, a JavaScript library called D3 has been utilized to visualize the relationship network.

Wireless Technology for Process Measurement on Oil and Gas Facilities

Merle Fernandes
School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Woodside Energy Limited

Wireless instrumentation is rapidly gaining recognition in the oil and gas industry as a catalyst for optimised modularisation – a construction tactic in which the units of an LNG process train are built overseas and shipped in their entirety to site, massively reducing costs. Wireless instruments compliment this approach by removing the need to lay communication cables during the construction phase. Wireless instruments exchange information according to wireless communication protocols. These models conceptually break complex networks into simple layers and define the strict rules which coordinate message packaging, routing and transmission. WirelessHART and ISA100.11a are the two main wireless communication protocols in industrial sectors, however their incompatibility alongside a split market, creates disorder for operators such as Woodside. This paper provides the engineering arguments to determine which protocol is better suited to Woodside assets, by simulating wireless sensor networks configured in either protocol. Throughput, reliability and battery life were the key performance indicators, to compare the WirelessHART’s Time Division Multiple Access channel versus ISA100.11a’s Carrier Sense Multiple Access approach. Higher throughput statistics were achieved for ISA100.11a, whilst WirelessHART was more efficient in power consumption. This project also looks at the requirements and limitations of wireless technology in terms of monitoring versus safety and process control.

Analysis of Testing Methodologies for High Voltage Electrical Assets

Sidarth Jain
School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Woodside Energy Limited

The advent of new testing methodologies has seen Water Corporation evaluate its preventative maintenance strategy for its distributed high voltage (“HV”) and low voltage (“LV”), high power electrical equipment.  The aim of this project is to assess the efficacy and applicability of testing methodologies for HV transformers in the context of Water Corp’s criterion of occupational health and safety (OSH), asset criticality, economics, compliance, skill-set and operating environment and deliver a recommendation.

The project develops a framework for the Water Corporation to assess the applicability and efficacy of the testing methodology.  Analysis has been carried out in conjunction with ABB (“Asea Brown Boveri”) and Downer Group to gauge the pacticality and effectiveness of the testing methodologies and an indicative cost schedule for each methodology has been prepared. The results indicate condition monitoring (“CM”) in the form of yearly inspections and preventative maintenance (“PM”) in the form of dissolved gas in oil analysis (“DGA”) and partial discharge analysis on ‘critical’ transformers should be conducted.

Thermodynamic Modelling of Subsea Heat Exchangers

Kimberley Chieng
School of Computer Science and Software Engineering
Woodside Energy Limited

The mechanical design of subsea heat exchangers involves consideration of the inlet pressure, seabed temperature, temperature and flow rate of the process fluid, frictional pressure loss through the pipe and, ultimately, operating cost.  Subsea process engineering may be enhanced by the development of  a thermodynamic model that allows for global optimisation over a range of design parameters. This work introduces a simple model, implemented in Microsoft Excel with Visual Basic for Applications, to explore the behaviour of a gas-dominant subsea heat exchange unit operation. The finite difference approach is employed within the model to estimate heat transferred to the environment over two input parameters: pipe diameter and pipe wall thickness. An initial comparison to OLGA 7.2.3 will be performed. This study also focuses on the sensitivity of heat transfer due to external marine fouling.

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