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blockages from the inside.
  [vote for,

Given a leak with no valve upstream, what do you do without shutting off supply or draining any downstream vessel (like hot water cylinder)

What if there was a magnetic sand in the flow, that when a strong magnetic field is place through the pipe, that congeals to block the water in two places and allows access to a section. Any fix up needed, there after, is a breeze.The sand, of course, would be inert and washes out quickly.

There's only one severe problem.

wjt, Nov 10 2016

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       If a pipe has a leak, then what if you surrounded the leak with your magnetic sand/dust, and put the super-strong electromagnet on the other side of the pipe? Then the dust might enter the pipe through the leak/hole, and from there accumulate inside the pipe to block the water flow, enough that the leak could be repaired.
Vernon, Nov 10 2016

       Could instead be an interesting way to unstop a clogged drain. Throw some iron-filing stuff down the drain (with the blessing of your local water and sewer utility) and with a rare-earth magnet on the outside direct it to the clog and scrub.   

       Or you could always just use a snake.
RayfordSteele, Nov 10 2016

       The usual method is liquid nitrogen and a thermal blanket. There are many pipe freezing kits available specifically for plumbers in this situation.
mitxela, Nov 10 2016

       They freeze the pipe solid? I thought that burst pipes.
bungston, Nov 10 2016

       Well you're only freezing a few inches of pipe, so there's not much expansion really.
mitxela, Nov 10 2016

       A hot pipe wouldn't freeze for very long but a nice solution.   

       [Vernon] I was thinking more along the lines of installing a valve for future proofing. The leak was in a regulator fitting.
wjt, Nov 10 2016

       //The usual method is liquid nitrogen and a thermal blanket.//   

       You can also do it with dry ice, packed into a towel around the pipe. Lasts longer than freeze-sprays. However, if the leak is substantial, the flow of water will prevent freezage.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 12 2016

       Frog spawn will seal a hole in a pipe as long as the water is cold, and you can wait around for long enough for a tadpole to form and block the hole. A longer wait for a frog to develop is required for a larger hole. This method won't work with boiling water.
xenzag, Nov 12 2016


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