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International Society for Industrial Process Tomography

8th World Congress on Industrial Process Tomography

Distillation Column Troubleshooting with Improved Gamma Scan Technique

M. I. Haraguchi1, Hae Yong Kim2, W.A.P. Calvo3

1 - Tricom Tecnologia

Av. Conselheiro Rodrigues Alves, 58 - Piquete - Brazil

2 - Universidade de São Paulo, Escola Politécnica

Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, tr. 3, 158 - São Paulo - Brazil

3 - Nuclear and Energy Research Institute – IPEN/CNEN-SP Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 2242 - São Paulo - Brazil


Gamma scanning is a nuclear inspection technique used to troubleshoot industrial equipments in refineries and petrochemicals plants around the world. In this technique, a sealed radiation source and detector move along an equipment, and the intensity readouts generate a density profile of the equipment. The simplicity of this technique has made it popular in many countries. In recent decades, many improvements have been proposed, from automated scanning to wireless detectors, new collecting software and improved data presentation. However, the technique concept has not changed since it was proposed decades ago, and the results still consist on a one-dimensional mean density profile of the target. The present work, developed in a master degree project, describes a new approach for gamma scanning. The innovative technology shows the result of a gamma scan as a two-dimensional density distribution plot. Clearly, a two-dimensional image reveals more features of the equipment under analysis, representing an advance in the non-destructive testing, as many problems that could not be troubleshooted using conventional gamma scanning can now be seen with this imaging technique. The innovative technology, patent pending, received an award from a recognized petroleum company.

Keywords Distillation Columns, Gamma Scanning, Industrial Tomography.

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