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
Amount:
$100,000.00
Award Year:
2008
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
DE-FG02-08ER85139
Agency Tracking Number:
n/a
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Diamond Materials Inc.
120 Centennial Avenue, Piscataway, NJ, 08854
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
938685963
Principal Investigator:
Oleg Voronov
Dr.
(732) 885-0805
oavoronov@aol.com
Business Contact:
Oleg Voronov
Dr.
(732) 885-0805
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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