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Mitigating the Risk Of CUI On Insulated Pipe
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Mitigating the Risk Of CUI On Insulated Pipe

Spring is in the air, and the seasonal thaw has started. As regular precipitation returns to North America this increase of humidity poses a huge risk for pipes that are vulnerable to Corrosion Under Insulation, or as it is more commonly identified, CUI. Each year, undetected CUI issues cause millions of dollars of damage due to pipe failures, flooding, and other such issues. Knowing what to look for, as well as the causes of CUI can help you catch rust and corrosion before it has the chance to progress to pipe failure. Learn more about CUI below, as well as some key ways to detect early signs of it.

What Are The Causes Of CUI?

Corrosion under insulation begins when moisture or condensation manages to breach the barrier of a pipe’s insulation "cladding" and make contact with the metal itself. Because the insulating layer hides the pipe from view, it can be extremely difficult to detect these moisture breaches purely with a visual inspection. As a result, condensation often goes undetected for long periods of time and begins to degrade the pipe. Areas that are at high risk for the occurrence of CUI include:

  • Hot or humid environments
  • Climates prone to sudden weather shifts
  • Areas with heavy snow or rainfall
  • Any atmosphere that encourages sweating or contains chlorides or sulphides.

Many of these environments can be found across North America and it is therefore imperative to be aware of the increased risk imposed on your piping systems; once CUI has initiated, it can rapidly worsen depending on the source of moisture, standing temperature and exposure to oxygen.

Detection Is Your Best Defence

The number one factor that makes CUI dangerous is how easy it is for it to go unnoticed until it is too late for treatment or repair. Unlike other forms of damage that may lead to minor leaks CUI can quietly corrode away your pipes until the corrosion is so severe that sudden component failure occurs. The end result is typically extensive damage to your system (through explosion and fire) and surrounding areas, as well as costly delays and repairs.

Don’t Turn A Blind Eye To CUI

Routine pipeline inspection is the best way to detect CUI early on and to allow for proactive repairs that can prevent unwanted failures. As a worldwide leader in electromagnetic NDE inspection equipment design and manufacture, Russell NDE is the inventor of the Bracelet Probe, which is relied upon by industry leaders like Enbridge, Acuren, Imperial Oil, and Irving Refineries, to safely and efficiently identify CUI with reliability and accuracy.

The Bracelet Probe is an ideal choice for inspection and is adaptable to any insulated (or fireproofed) pipe size starting at 4” and contains sensitive detectors that cover a 10” wide scan path. The probe scans at a rate of up to 12'/min on both horizontal and vertical pipes. Data is fed real-time to a computer that displays and records the underlying condition of the pipe. This data can then be saved as 3D color-maps, strip charts and voltage planes which are used to size and evaluate the CUI.

Your Source For NDT CUI Detection Equipment and Services

Learn more about stopping CUI in its tracks by contacting Russell NDE today.

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