RGU students win £2,500 for developing go-faster PIG

RGU PIG team from left Alasdair Crawford, Jamie Thomson , James Williamson, Gearoid Kerins, Azat Yusupov and Dr Yang Liu.
Pictured from left are Alasdair Crawford, Jamie Thomson , James Williamson, Gearoid Kerins, Azat Yusupov with Dr Yang Liu.

A team of five engineering students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have won a group project award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), which will allow them to present their research on a go-faster PIG at an international conference.

The capability of this capsule design is not merely limited to the oil and gas industry but could also be implemented in the energy, water management and health industries.

The £2,500 grant will allow the students to attend an international conference in Glasgow on Advances in Subsea Engineering, Structures & Systems (ASESS) after they were able to demonstrate they met the criteria for the award.

James Williamson, Jamie Thomson, Alasdair Crawford, Gearoid Kerins, and Azat Yusupov will present research that they have done as a team to develop a pigging capsule at the event in June.

The group’s research project focuses on the design optimisation of a pigging capsule used for pipeline inspection within the oil and gas sector. It is a continuation of work done by Dr Yang Liu, a lecturer at RGU, who designed the capsule drive mechanism, and aims to make improvements to the capsule design used to hold the mechanism through both computational simulations (CFD) and experimental prototype testing.

Williamson said: “From our research we identified several design improvements that helped stabilise the capsule and would allow it to travel faster within a pipeline, improving the capsule’s efficiency.

“The design of pigs in the subsea industry has not changed significantly in the last 60 years and the uniqueness of Dr Liu’s ‘vibro-impact mechanism’ makes it of great interest to the subsea engineering community.

“Using this mechanism a pigging capsule is able to move within a pipeline independent from the product flow and without external propulsion such as wheel or propellers, something which has not been achieved before.

“The simplicity of the vibro-impact mechanism allows for a safer, cheaper and more reliable pig that is able to operate in conditions that no existing pig design can currently operate in.”

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