New NYSEARCH Program Focuses on Future NDE Techniques for Characterization of Plastic Pipe

NFG staff preparing and organizing pipe samples in advance of NDE testing.

Closeup view of pipe samples prepared for NDE testing.

NYSEARCH seeks new solutions from other industries in its Oracle program. Following work from Oracle and a State-of-the-Art Technology Assessment by SwRI, a new program was approved in September to develop Non-Destructive-Evaluation (NDE) techniques for PE pipe materials using Terahertz technology. This approach was picked by members because Terahertz signals can propagate through non-conductive materials, such as plastics. Initial research shows that it offers greater penetration and greater resolution than traditional inspection techniques such as ultrasound (UT).

To start the new development program, PE pipe samples were needed (in terms of sizes and SDRS) to test the potential of the new Terahertz inspection technology. Using a range of criteria for the test samples to assess in this Feasibility Study (diameters, wall thicknesses and types/sizes of flaws), project funders gathered existing pipe inventory because suppliers do not have all extreme cases in stock. In December, NFG kick-started the project by preparing the pipe samples from the donated stock (NFG’s laboratory activities are shown in the illustrations). Following completion of this task, the feasibility study is now ready to begin at NJIT and Iowa State where experts in Terahertz inspection technologies have been identified.

In our history, members of NYSEARCH have made projects possible by providing pipes and other material such as fittings, valves, etc. and by performing laboratory work to create the real-world conditions needed for testing. In the last two months, NYSEARCH members aided testing of appliances (for assessment of gas supply issues when blended with Hydrogen) and new technology to measure performance on pipe location. Currently, other members are preparing for tests of leak quantification and methane detection from drones.

These examples keep the NYSEARCH program grounded in real-world product specifications and validation. NYSEARCH/NGA staff wants to thank all members who prioritize time for proper project framing and realistic testing.


For over thirty years, NYSEARCH has worked as a consortium of natural gas Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) who have a common interest and need for research and technology development and demonstration. Today, as part of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), NYSEARCH manages over (30) projects in various stages of development for LDCs, transmission companies, federal agencies and their manufacturing and commercial partners. NYSEARCH is located in Parsippany, NJ and NGA is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts.