Diamond-Hardfaced WC/Co-Cr Nanocomposites for Extended Service Life of Pump Bearings in Geothermal Wells

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-08ER85139
Agency Tracking Number: N/A
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: 21 c
Solicitation Number: DE-PS02-07ER07-36
Small Business Information
120 Centennial Avenue, Piscataway, NJ, 08854
DUNS: 938685963
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Oleg Voronov
 Dr.
 (732) 885-0805
 oavoronov@aol.com
Business Contact
 Oleg Voronov
Title: Dr.
Phone: (732) 885-0805
Email: oavoronov@aol.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Renewable energy sources include electrical generators driven by steam from geothermal sources. Submersible pumps with extended service lives are required to improve the economics of today¿s geothermal systems. A major problem is corrosive wear experienced by the pump bearings, when the lubricating brine becomes contaminated with fine sand particles. Typically, the bearings are hardened with WC/Co-Cr, which resists degradation only when there is no sand present. Thus, bearing lifetimes fall far short of the desired 5-10 years lifetimes. This project will develop a diamond-hardened WC/Co-Cr nanocomposite, in which a compositionally-graded layer of diamond nanoparticles is bonded to a nanostructured WC/Co-Cr substrate. A tough Co-Cr binder phase will be used for both the hard WC and the superhard diamond particles, thereby ensuring good fracture resistance of the nanocomposite. A high-pressure sintering technology will be used to produce the desired nanocomposite. To reduce raw-material cost, and to avoid the use of strategic metals such as W and Co, a modified composition ¿ a diamond-hardened TiC/Ti alloy ¿ also will be investigated. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: For geothermal applications, the nanocomposite should resist coating spallation over the long term. Other commercial applications for diamond-hardened WC/Co-Cr and TiC/Ti-alloy nanocomposites include machine tools, drill bits, and wear parts. The advantages derived from a nanocomposite structure include higher hardness and compressive strength as well as improved fracture toughness.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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