Design and development of outer variable diameter pipe cleaning system

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Kok Hoe Ming
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ABSTRACT This dissertation aims to provide a safe and effective method to clean boiler pipes externally without causing damages to the pipes. Cleaning pipes externally is a long and arduous work that most people tend to ignore. Pipes can vary in lengths due to different purposes and can reach up lengths in kilometers. Hiring manpower to clean pipes that are lengthy is not a cost and time effective option. Hence, with the use of automation one can clean pipes externally without hiring additional manpower. However, most researches only focus on cleaning the pipe internally and choose the idea of making the external surface of the pipe using stronger materials in order to withstand the natural elements for years. Eventually, these pipes would still decay and corrode over time and the cost to replace them would be considerably high. Pipes are mostly damaged because of oxidation on its surface due to prolong exposure to the sun and rain. The oxide layer can be removed chemically or physically with things such as brushes. In order to choose the most suitable way to remove the oxide layer, I have done my research and implemented into my cleaning system. To remove it chemically would bring about a risk that can further damage the pipes while physically removing it would only remove the oxide layer. Then, the inspiration to decide on the best movement that would enable the robot to move along the pipe as it cleans with the highest mobility came from a caterpillar. The robot would be designed to clean the pipe while brushing the whole circumference of the pipe as well the joints with the stubs.
Oxidation removal , External pipe cleaning , Bristles