Sealing oilfield tools and valves is possibly probably the most difficult jobs for just about any seal. High temperatures and pressures, corrosive chemicals, and abrasive particles get this to a virtually impossible job for most off-the-shelf seals. With careful engineering and modern materials, though, seals could be designed for this that get the job done they are requested of.
Let us first check out the oilfield atmosphere. No more are wells just drilled a couple of 1000 ft to tap shallow oil fields. Individuals fields happen to be virtually exploited in the last century and therefore are beginning to dry out. Most are being mostly shut lower because they do not produce in addition to individuals 10,000 ft lower. When you are getting that far lower, frequently temperatures have been in the 400 F (200 C) range with pressures up to 40,000 PSI (275 MPa) Traditional rubber or perhaps PTFE seals don’t have any possibility of withstanding individuals environments.
Oil valves and tools should also withstand probably the most corrosive substances around, Hydrogen Disulfide gas. This eats through steel and stainless springs to render them useless quickly. If metal springs are utilized during these seals, they ought to be made from among the nickel super-alloys, Inconel, Hastelloy or Elgilloy. Fundamental essentials that usually stays unaffected by contact with H2S without having affected their service existence.
Seal jackets for that oil field atmosphere should be made from polymer alloys to keep their integrity underneath the high temperatures and pressures. Unfilled PTFE (Teflon) would squirt from the gland like tooth paste from the tube if uncovered to those pressures. Mixtures of inert fillers like chopped glass or carbon fibers, minerals and graphite are essential together with mixtures of polymers, like PFTE (Teflon) and PPS (Ryton.) Other polymers have proven themselves helpful too.
The seal should be pliable enough to fill the micro-finish from the seal gland wall while being sturdy enough to not extrude with the clearances being sealed. This can be a tall order and frequently can’t be accomplished having a one-piece seal, so backup rings are frequently accustomed to close up, or at lease minimize the extrusion gap. These are typically made from polymers having a greater modulus (stiffer) compared to seal rings, because they are not needed to close, simply to close up the space. Clever designs using multiple rings cammed against one another produce the ideal sealing condition – an almost zero extrusion gap.
Designing seals for that severe atmosphere of oilfield valves and lower-hole oil tools is a mix of proper mechanical design as well as proper seal materials. Correct design could make for reliable, save equipment, as the converse, improper design can result in disaster.
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