PVD Coating for High-Wear Components in the Oil and Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry, also known as the petroleum industry, includes processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transportation, and marketing of petroleum products. The main part of the market is fuel oil and gasoline, but petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and many others. For our industrial civilization in its current form, petroleum is crucial to many industries. However, the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry is huge. Toxic and non-toxic waste is generated, and some by-products can pollute the air, soil, and water. Fossil fuel combustion is the largest contributor to the carbon buildup in the biosphere, with corresponding global changes including climate warming. Conservation, efficiency, and minimizing the waste impacts of petroleum products are effective industry and consumer actions toward achieving better environmental sustainability. PVD coatings can help increase efficiency, durability, and reliability, which are necessary to achieve these goals.
Use of PVD coatings
PVD coatings are used in the oil and gas industry for a wide range of applications. These coatings offer several benefits that make them indispensable for this industry, including enhanced durability, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and improved performance in challenging environments.
Here are some examples of how PVD coatings are used:
In general, drills are the ideal tool for coating application. Coated drilling tools are widely used in different industrial sectors, including automotive, metalworking, machinery, mining, construction, geothermal, and petroleum industries. PVD coatings are applied to drill bits to enhance their wear resistance and extend their lifespan. The coatings protect the cutting edges of the tools from abrasion, erosion, and corrosion, which allows them to withstand the harsh conditions during drilling and exploration operations.
For drilling applications, titanium-based nitrides are usually used, including TiN, TiAlN, AlTiN, TiSiN, and TiCN. Transition metal boride-based PVD coatings are also promising candidates for various challenging applications.
By utilizing PVD coatings on pump components, the oil and gas industry can achieve improved pump performance, extended component life, reduced maintenance costs, and increased operational efficiency. Coatings are used on impellers, casings, shaft sleeves, bearings, and seals to improve their resistance to wear, erosion, and corrosion caused by the abrasive fluids and chemicals encountered in oil and gas production. The coatings can also provide a low-friction surface, reducing energy consumption and improving pump efficiency.
Impellers are key parts in pumps used to generate fluid flow, and pump casings house them and provide structural support. The coatings protect the impellers and casings from abrasive particles and corrosive fluids, thereby extending the components’ lifespan, reducing the risk of degradation, and maintaining desired pump performance.
Shaft sleeves protect the pump shaft from wear and corrosion. PVD coatings improve their resistance to abrasion and erosion. Moreover, they reduce friction between the shaft and sleeve, prolonging the pump’s lifespan.
Bearings in pumps are subjected to high loads and continuous friction. The coatings can minimize wear, reduce friction, maintain smooth operation, and thus significantly extent their lifespan.
Pump seals are critical for the integrity and efficiency of the pumping system. PVD coatings can be applied to seal surfaces to minimize leakage, reduce wear, improve pump efficiency, and provide resistance to harsh chemicals.
Valve and actuator components
Components, such as stems, seats, and balls, control the flow of oil, gas, and other fluids, and it is essential to ensure their trouble-free operation and smooth running by enhancing corrosion and wear resistance and minimizing friction. Various PVD coatings are utilized to improve components properties.
Coatings for pump, valve, and actuator components
For the components of pumps, valves, and actuators, mainly two groups of coatings are used. The first group includes nickel-based coatings, including Ni, Ni-Cu, Ni-Zn, Cr-Ni, Ni-Mo, and more complex Ni-Al2O3/TiC, Ni-W-P, Ni-Cu-P, Ni-P-SiC, and Ni-P-TiO2. The second group includes various forms of DLC (diamond-like carbon), such as hydrogenated DLC (H-DLC) or silicon DLC (Si-DLC). For the protection of steel pipe lines where severe internal and external environmental conditions are present, anti-corrosion hydrophobic coatings are used. Also, advanced polymeric coatings are utilized, but they are not prepared by PVD methods.
Salt water causes rapid degradation and corrosion of many materials. A lot of activities in the oil and gas industry are connected to the marine environment. Subsea equipment, including connectors, risers, and pipes, needs to be protected from corrosion in this harsh environment. The PVD coatings provide a barrier against corrosive elements and extend the service life of the equipment, reducing maintenance and replacement costs. Thereby, the coatings help to prevent accidents, which have an overwhelming impact on the environment.
Surface protection of other components
PVD coatings can be used for surface protection and anti-corrosion purposes on various metallic components and structures in oil and gas facilities. They provide a hard, dense, and chemically inert barrier that prevents direct contact between the substrate and corrosive substances, thereby reducing the risk of degradation and extending the lifespan of the equipment. They can also reduce friction and wear on high-wear components of the infrastructure.
The oil and gas industry includes processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transportation, and marketing of petroleum products. Petroleum is crucial to many industries, but the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry is huge. PVD coatings can help increase efficiency, durability, and reliability, which are necessary to achieve better environmental sustainability, conservation, efficiency, and minimizing the waste impacts of petroleum products.
PVD coatings offer several benefits that make them indispensable for the oil and gas industry, including enhanced durability, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and improved performance in challenging environments. They are applied to drilling tools, pump, valve, and actuator components, subsea equipment, and are used for surface protection on various components.
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