High performance materials are essential for the Oil & Gas industry
Vermilion Three achieved a ‘0000’ rating – zero damage – when subjected to ISO23936-2/Norsok M-710 testing for resistance to rapid gas decompression (RGD). The Shell MESC SPE 85/301 standard requires more challenging test conditions for RGD resistance, being carried out at 150°C, which is 50°C higher than the standard temperature required for ISO23936-2/Norsok M-710. Given that a material’s RGD performance is highly sensitive to temperature, achieving a ‘0000’ rating at 50°C above the industry test standard is a significant advance in capability over current material technology.
Rapid Gas Decompression (RGD) is a phenomenon that often occurs when high-pressure gas molecules migrate into an elastomer at a compressed state. When the pressure surrounding the elastomer is suddenly released, the compressed gas inside the elastomer tries to expand and exit the elastomer, thus causing RGD (also known as explosive decompression). Most elastomers experience severe blistering or cracking when the forces of these expanding gases overcome the strength of the surrounding material.
Elastomers have a predictable swelling response in high-pressure gases such as CNG (compressed natural gas), methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide (sour gas). The destructive consequences of this swelling is not so much during the absorption of the gas but when the system pressure is suddenly relieved. In the phenomena of explosive decompression (“ED”), the gas absorbed by the polymer expands rapidly within the polymer upon the release of ambient pressure. The consequences to a seal can be catastrophic failure. Such failure can occur in gas compressors, down-hole applications, and other situations where high pressure is commonly encountered.
Seals in such harsh environment need to have resistance to methanol, sour gas, hot water, steam and corrosion inhibitors to ensure long term durability.
High performance and specifically designed fluorocarbon elastomers are needed to withstand RGD in compressor components, valves and pumps used in the Oil & Gas industry.
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