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Postgraduate research project

Optical fibre sensing for acoustic leak detection in buried pipelines

Competition funded View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Would you like to help the UK eliminate leakage-related water loss? Explore the use of optical fibre sensing for the acoustic detection of leaks in a 3.5 year, fully-funded PhD.

Leakages from pipes pose a significant environmental, economic and health problem in the water industry. The UK is determined to tackle this problem so has recently set up the Zero Leakage 2050 initiative. Tens of kilometres of pipelines could be continuously monitored for leaks using optical fibre technology. The opportunities for further developing pipeline sensing are tremendous and exciting. Optical fibres offer a lot of spare capacity that can potentially be used for sensing water leaks.

This project will explore the use of existing fibre networks to detect water leaks. You’ll work on advanced wave modelling and signal processing, both theoretically and in the field. As well as gaining skills in physics, mechanics, sensing, processing and experimentation, you'll make a valuable contribution to an untapped field of research.

You’ll work in the Dynamics Group of the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at Southampton. ISVR is at the forefront of leak detection research and shows steady growth in this area. You will be a part of the Sustainable Infrastructure and Cities Centre for Doctoral Training which includes multi-disciplinary researchers from across the entire faculty. The experimental work will be conducted at ISVR labs, the Future Towns Innovation Hub at Chilworth Science Park, and live industrial test sites.

The project is funded by UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), the water industry research procurement body in the UK.