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The University of Southampton

Research project: Tribocorrosion of cemented tungsten carbide in oil and gas drilling environments

Currently Active: 

Studying the wear of a ceramic based material using experimental and modelling techniques at a microstructural level

One of the primary activities involved in oil and gas recovery is the drilling operation that allows access to the reservoir rock. Components used in the drilling process are subject to both abrasive wear and corrosive degradation, called a tribocorrosion system. The combined result of these degradation mechanisms produces high and sometimes unpredictable wear rates that lead to challenges in prediction of component in-service life.

The objective of this study is to improve understanding of tribocorrosion systems using controlled laboratory conditions on cemented tungsten carbide cobalt (WC-Co), a material that is used in downhole components. In this work established mechanical and electrochemical techniques are coupled to provide a comprehensive understanding of the degradation of WC-Co at a microstructural level. Understanding of the degradation mechanisms will then be used to inform the modelling of a tribocorrosion system using an innovated hybrid finite and discrete element modelling platform.

SEM image of tungsten oxide layer following corrosion of WC-Co sample taken at x200 and x30,000 magnification.

The project is fully funded through the Green Tribology EPSRC platform grant.

Associated research themes

Materials and Surface Engineering

Green Tribology

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)
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