Feb. 16, 2024

Schulich prof writes book on how to make pipelines safer

Frank Cheng’s findings could help save pipeline companies money and protect the environment
Dr. Frank Cheng
Frank Cheng Courtesy Frank Cheng

Pipelines have been referred to as the “lifeline of the energy industry,” but what happens when that lifeline is interrupted due to failing pipes? 

Dr. Frank Cheng, PhD, a professor with the Schulich School of Engineering, has spent two decades studying corrosion of pipelines and has written a book to assist the industry in keeping them safe and maintained.

Defect Assessment for Integrity Management of Pipelines, published by Wiley, studies how to best assess pipeline corrosion. 

Safety is still as a top priority to pipeline operation,” says Cheng. “So, this book will contribute to improve the integrity and the safety of pipelines by analyzing the corrosion and the other mechanical defects such as dents and buckles.” 

This is important for pipeline safety as well as environmental conservation by preventing leaks, adds Cheng, who is with the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. 

Dr. Frank Cheng and team in blue coveralls and hardhats examining a pipeline

Frank Cheng and team conduct field work

Courtesy Frank Cheng

Through his defect-assessment methods, pipeline operators can predict the fitness for service and lifespan of pipelines more accurately. They can do this considering three factors: the mechanical factor, the corrosion factor and the electrochemical factor. 

“The pipeline operator can maintain and know the performance condition of the pipeline and then they can take action by either adjusting the operating parameters or digging up the pipeline to repair the defect,” says Cheng.

Cheng’s methods will be able to be used for oil and gas pipelines as well as other energy pipelines, such as hydrogen.

This not only will increase safety and protect the environment, but it will also support the economy by saving companies money on frequent inspection, repair costs and spill clean-up costs. 

“The pipeline industry contributes to a strong national economy and a safe operation of pipelines, and that will guarantee economic development,” says Cheng. “At the same time, it will develop in our future a huge job market and it will guarantee the employment.”  

Cheng hopes his book will be used in assisting pipeline operators and is excited to see where his new methods could take the future of pipelines.

You can purchase Cheng’s book on Amazon, Wiley and Indigo.

Sign up for UToday

Sign up for UToday

Delivered to your inbox — a daily roundup of news and events from across the University of Calgary's 14 faculties and dozens of units

Thank you for your submission.