Research and Development

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Have you ever wondered what keeps buried steel from corroding or how pipelines are monitored for leaks? The Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA) supports an extensive research and development program to assist with the development and evaluation of technologies to improve pipeline safety.

Over the course of the last decade, more than 270 grants have been made to enable researchers, who partner with operators, educational institutions and private enterprise, to tackle difficult problems being faced by operators or paving the way for new products to be utilized. One initiative underway will assist with developing a product to examine the condition of encased pipe. Pipelines are encased in concrete or other material for additional protection. Encasing is typically required by railroads or road authorities when a pipeline crosses under another facility or transportation corridor. One of the problems that results with a cased pipeline is there is no way to examine the condition of the external steel. To address this, a project has been initiated to develop a multi-channel cased pipe design that will allow access to the pipeline as well as sensors that can monitor and transmit information to the operator.

Extensive information on the PHMSA Research and Development program can be found on the Administration’s website. Visitors can review the various projects, the status of the research, findings of independent reviewers as well as the location and parties to the project. To learn more about the research project or studies being undertaken to improve pipeline safety, visit