Sunday, October 14, 2012

Are ALL PIPELINES subject to random failures due to the Kohlhase Effect?

Marc 1 Pipeline connection to M1S Compressor Station in Sullivan Co. Pa
exhibits shoddy welding. Photo by Dean Marshall
NOTE: This image is not meant to illustrate the Kohlhase Effect.

I've had some communications with Steven Kohlhase
since I first spotted this:

Here is how he describes the "Kohlhase Effect":
Operation and physical changes being made to many of the nations High Pressure natural gas distribution systems are causing a condition where it is suspected that internal low frequency sound waves are being generated and traveling many miles. 

Besides the infamous hum and structural vibration in buildings the radiation of these sound waves causes, they need to be considered as a root cause leading to acoustic fatigue of the steel components in older systems.  

Pipelines made of high carbon steel that have been operated through millions of these cycles may be susceptible to brittle fatigue leading to catastrophic failures.

Steve has a very interesting theory
that some pipeline failures may be caused by
low-frequency mechanical vibrations in the pipeline itself
which can be first heard and felt.

Over time, these vibrations might lead to failure of welds,
cause fractures, or exaggerate existing fractures. Any of these
could lead to catastrophic ruptures.
We've been discussing the likely cause of these vibrations.
NOTE WELL that not everything in this article represents Steve's views.
I have taken his basic ideas and expanded upon them.

To find out what Steve think, please consult his original research.
(Links below)

It seems to me, the likely source of these vibrations
to be one or more of the following:
 Vibrations which originate in  
  1. Compressor stations,

  2. Internal frictional forces.

  3. Cavitation

    Cavitation may be more of a problem with high-gravity,
    high-pressure, and/or high gravity (e.g. Dilbit) pipelines,
    like the Keystone XL or the EMPCO Pegasus (Mayflower spill).

  4. Fluid-Hammer which occurs during starting or stopping the pipeline (opening or closing a valve)

  5. External impulses, such as from local heavy industry or construction,
    and especially at certain vulnerable critical points*

    (* i.e., points along the pipeline which are coincident with maximal +/- swings of the sum of low ordered harmonics. That is, not at coincident points of zero crossings of aggregate sum of lower harmonics. The lowest-order harmonics are the most important because the carry the greatest energy.)

  6. Seismic activity
Vibrations from any source can form destructive "resonant tanks" due to the physics of pipelines.
  (Think of a pipeline as being physically analogous to a giant piano string)

Undamped oscillations are no trivial matter.
They are known to cause catastrophic mechanical failures.

Due to a faulty design, undamped mechanical oscillations,
provoked by gale-force winds, caused a resonant tank effect
in the ill-fated the Tacoma Narrows Bridge ("Galloping Gertie")
which self-destructed.

If Kohlhase's theory is correct 
(and I think there is certainly something to it)
this could mean that ALL PIPELINES may be subject to
random catastrophic failure.

This could also explain the many reported weld failures in the Millennium Pipeline.

Here is Steven's latest filing with FERC (it's big... 2.5mb)

Please send this to other groups fighting compressor stations or pipelines,
or working on pipeline safety if you think it would be helpful. 



Comment of Stephen D Kohlhase under CP02-31, et al.
Availability: Public
Comments/Protest /
Comment on Filing
 Large Format    2555K
 FERC Generated PDF     2584K


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: steven kohlhase
Date: Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 9:51 AM
Subject: Re: Reply to your inquiry

Hi Bill, just quickly scanned and will revert back later today (have a honey do list right now).  I will definetly comment.  On MOnday I filed a formal complaint to FERC- attached.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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