NDT for Composite Utility Poles

Innovation to Industry Ltd

National Physical Laboratory
Round 3

The vision for the current project is to develop a non-destructive testing (NDT) solution for use on composite utility poles that are used to transmit electricity from electricity generation stations to homes throughout the UK.

Traditionally transmission solutions have been to use wooden utility poles for lower voltage or steel lattice towers for higher voltages.

The issue with the former is that creosote is used to prevent the wood from rotting which is bad for the environment and the latter, that they are considered unsightly and no longer achieve planning consent due to public acceptance issues.

Composite poles can be used as an alternative for both structures at all but the highest 400kV voltage levels.

Composite poles are currently going through market acceptance in the UK with completion of the first line in Scotland during 2018.

While the product has been well received, future uptake will be dependent on a solving few remaining maintenance issues.

Successful completion of the proposed project will solve a major barrier to adoption by providing a reliable method to assess the strength and performance of installed product throughout their life-cycle.

The primary objective of the project is to evaluate the most commercially viable NDT solutions for use with composite utility poles.

A secondary objective is to test a range of pole samples with varying levels of damage to demonstrate that the damage can be reliably detected and the extent to which damage severity can be determined.

The longer term project aim is for I2I to exploit what will be an industry leading tool with domestic sales and export potential.

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