Researchers develop smart valve to automatically control pipeline damage

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : November 1, 2022, 11:18 Updated : November 1, 2022, 12:22

[Courtesy of the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials]

SEOUL -- An artificial intelligence-based valve capable of automatically restoring the main functions of a damaged pipeline was developed to control unexpected pipe breakage that can lead to loss of lives and significant property damage. The smart valve will be used in various sectors such as naval ships and industrial sites.
Pipeline systems supply gas or liquid that transfers mechanical energy and maintain the pressure levels in various equipment and facilities such as warships and offshore plants. Currently, human workers remotely open and close valves while monitoring the pressure, flow rate and temperature inside the pipes. However, because the pipes were managed manually, it has been difficult for workers to quickly respond to pipe damage. Such accidents could generate the spread of fire at industrial sites and overheating of weapon systems inside naval vessels.   

A research team led by Jung Byung-chang, a principal researcher at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), developed the "K-Smart Valve" by adding AI technology to conventional valves. The valve which also consists of a valve body, two pressure sensors, an actuator and a control module automatically detects pipe damage and blocks leakage to restore its original functions.
The smart valve will be preferentially applied to the fire extinguishing and cooling system of naval ships to efficiently deal with pipe damage caused by enemy attacks. Without significantly changing the existing valve remote control system, the new accident response system can be easily established just by adding a machine learning algorithm.
"In the future, the K-Smart Valve will be widely used for unmanned technology not only in the military, such as for naval ships, but also in general ships and onshore and offshore plants at industrial sites," Jung said in a statement. KIMM hopes to apply the technology to navy vessels' fire extinguishing systems by carrying out a transfer technology project starting in 2023.
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