Low-frequency electromagnetic fields for the detection of buried objects in the shallow sub-surface

Cross, James Dorian (2014). Low-frequency electromagnetic fields for the detection of buried objects in the shallow sub-surface. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the application of low-frequency electromagnetic fields, which may be excited within a buried pipe, for the detection of underground utilities.
Low-cost network analyser technology, which can be applied to field-measurements of the relative-permittivity of soil, is evaluated. These technologies are compared to laboratory-grade alternatives whose cost prohibits their use for field work. Methodologies for the measurement of the relative-permittivity of soil are discussed with reference to the low-cost technology, including use of a novel coaxial cavity which incorporates a step-discontinuity. It is shown that there is potential for use of low-cost network analysers in measuring relative-permittivity, but that further research is required to formulate a complete methodology.

The propagation of electromagnetic waves in layered media is discussed. The recent literature relating to this field is extensively reviewed, with several errors and omissions highlighted. A new calculation is presented which allows the calculation of the electromagnetic field due to a vertical electric dipole in a four-layered medium. Example results, including an approximation of a leaking pipe, are presented.

Finally, two sets of field trials are reviewed. The first field trials looked to observe waves propagating with low-velocity in the ground, by measuring the phase change along an array of receiving probes. Waves, propagating with low-velocity, were observed. However, direction of arrival measurements were not achievable due to a combination of signal-to-noise ratio, and the expected phase change at the observed propagation-velocity, across an array of realistic size.

The second field trials measured low-frequency electromagnetic fields, excited within a buried pipe, which were used to detect the location of the pipe with good correspondence to the ground truth. Furthermore, comparison with a ground-penetrating radar survey indicated that some anomalous results in the low-frequency electromagnetic survey corresponded to shallow targets detected using ground-penetrating radar.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Atkins, PhilUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence:
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4996

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