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Lasers May Slice Pipeline Rust, Cost

Thursday, May 5, 2011

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UK engineering experts are combining laser and powder metals technologies in a new lower-cost way to produce a high-strength, corrosion-resistant alloy for pipeline flanges.

Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University have teamed up with the Rotherham-based engineering firm Evenort Ltd. on the laser-driven method for producing Alloy 625.

The nickel-chromium alloy has proved highly resistant to oxidation, pitting, crevice, corrosion cracking and a wide range of organic and mineral acids at very low and very high temperatures.
Its corrosion resistance and other properties have made it popular for pipeline flanges, heat shields, furnace hardware, gas turbine engine ducting, combustion liners and spray bars, chemical plant hardware, and special seawater applications.

Cladding Makeover

Now, researchers from Sheffield Hallam’s Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI) have harnessed a combination of laser deposition and powder metallurgy to clad the flanges with a suitably thick corrosion-resistant layer.

“Given the complex shape of these products, this is not a straight-forward process,” says Professor Alan Smith, a leader of the university research team. “The cladding is carried out on the inside surfaces of tubes using powder metallurgy and laser deposition.”

The teams says its process slashes material costs by up to 85 percent and reduces the amount of nickel used, which makes the production process more environmentally friendly.

Offshore Opportunities

Researchers are identifying new opportunities for laser deposition and producing samples and prototypes that could be used in the offshore oil and gas industry.

 Deepwater Corrosion Services

 Deepwater Corrosion Services

Pipeline flange corrosion can eventually cause the band to fail.

Evenort is involved because the company produces flanges and other pipeline products for the oil and gas industry, “which have to be machined to very tight tolerances from highly alloyed corrosion resistant materials,” Smith notes.

“We are developing an Alloy 625 process which will give the necessary corrosion resistance but at greatly reduced manufacturing cost.”

Cheaper, Faster

Craig McKay, general manager for Evenort, explains: “By applying a laser-deposited section of Alloy 625 to the wetted surfaces of the product, the amount of the costly alloy in the component is much reduced.”

“Flanges produced in this way are therefore cheaper and quicker to market. The savings get bigger as the nominal size of the pipeline increases, so this would be particularly suitable for large-diameter sour-service applications such as oil pipelines.”


Tagged categories: Cladding; Corrosion protection; Pipeline; Pipelines; Research

Comment from MAHER AL-KHASHRAM, (5/8/2011, 5:34 PM)

How do we apply it on the internal girth welds.

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