The use of two pressure transducers in close proximity can enable the separation of the directional travelling pressure waves in pipelines. However, the implementation of this measurement strategy in real water pipes is difficult due to the lack of closely located access points. This paper reports the use of a customised in-pipe fibre optic pressure sensor array for hydraulic transient wave separation and pipeline condition assessment. The fibre optic pressure sensor array can be inserted into a pressurised pipeline through a single access point. The array consists of multiple fibre Bragg grating (FBG)-based pressure sensors in close proximity (∼0.5 m apart). A previously developed wave separation algorithm is adapted to analyse the transient pressure measurement from the FBG sensors. The resultant directional pressure waves are then used to detect pipe sections with a thinner wall thickness. A challenge is the influence of the in-pipe fibre optic sensing cable on the transient pressure measurement. The impact is analysed and adjustments to the pipeline condition assessment algorithm are undertaken to resolve the issue. The successful experimental application verifies the usefulness of the in-pipe fibre optic sensor array, which can facilitate transient-based pipeline condition assessment for buried water pipes with limited access points.

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