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A Novel Approach to Assessing Stray Current Interference without Potential Interruption

Product Number: 51324-20452-SG
Author: Parker B. Robbins
Publication Date: 2024
A novel approach is proposed to assess a procedure for testing whether a pipeline may be interfered with from DC stray current. With the rise in popularity of portable coupons in AC mitigation testing, the paper proposes a method to evaluate DC stray current with a portable or stationary coupon without requiring potential interruption on foreign structures. This may allow technicians to conduct additional testing on suspected interference spots without requiring the interruption of a foreign pipeline or structure. This paper outlines and proposes a procedure for determining the likelihood of DC stray current interference utilizing coupons. Additionally, the paper recommends and outlines a proposed study to assess the accuracy of the techniques in the proposed procedure. While DC current cannot typically be measured and quantified for a bare metal holiday on a pipeline, coupons allow for a controlled and measurable connection to a simulated pipeline holiday. The procedure may be utilized to distinguish when suppressed potentials are occurring on a pipeline as a result of DC stray current interference rather than from inadequate current provided by CP system, a foreign voltage gradient, shielding or electrical grounding, even when the source of current is unknown. The procedure may also be beneficial in situations with atypical interring-structures where the existence of the interfering structure is unknown or where the applied voltage of the interfering structure cannot be interrupted traditionally such as with the prevalence of DC current situations occurring from installed or newly repaired direct-buried communication utility cables with weak splices at unknown locations. The procedure may also be utilized as an initial step to determine first steps in a DC stray current interference situation.