Scientists from NUST MISIS proposed new wear-resistant coatings for the oil and gas industry

Researchers at the University of MISIS have demonstrated the effectiveness of new wear-resistant coatings based on tantalum carbide, relevant for creating stronger and more reliable industrial equipment in the oil and gas sector, which is subject to significant wear from abrasive particles.

“One of the key tasks of MISIS University as a recognized leader in the field of materials science in Russia and the world is to radically reduce the time for creating materials with specified properties, which will accelerate their implementation in production. New coatings based on tantalum carbide, developed by researchers at the university under the guidance of D.Sc., Professor Evgeny Alexandrovich Levashov, will be in demand in metallurgy, engineering, and the oil and gas industry. The application of coatings will increase the wear resistance of equipment by 2.5 times,” Alevtina Chernikova, rector of NUST MISIS.

Researchers compared two methods of applying coatings: magnetron sputtering (MS) and electrical discharge alloying (EDA). Both methods are characterized by high efficiency. The use of magnetron sputtering to apply Ta-Zr-Si-B-C coatings ensures high purity and quality of coatings. This method allows processing products of complex shapes while maintaining their dimensions and does not require additional post-processing, which is especially important for valve components. In turn, the electrical discharge alloying method allowed obtaining multicomponent coatings TaC-Fe-Cr-Mo-Ni with a thickness of 50 μm, characterized by increased adhesive strength.

“One of the main problems of production is wear. Therefore, to increase the service life of parts operating under conditions of friction and various types of wear, it is sufficient to strengthen their surface with hard nanocomposite coatings by magnetron sputtering and spark plasma sintering using specially developed electrode materials and target cathodes. The developed coatings can be recommended for protecting units and assemblies of oil production and oil refining enterprises, pumps in hydraulic systems, agricultural machinery, marine infrastructure objects, etc.,” Philipp Kiryukhantsev-Korneev, D.Sc., Professor of the Department of Powder Metallurgy and Functional Coatings, Head of the Laboratory In situ Diagnostics of Structural Transformations at the MISIS-ISMAN scientific center.

According to Maria Fatykhova, a junior research fellow at the In situ Diagnostics of Structural Transformations Laboratory at MISIS-ISMAN, the application of coatings to steel elements of valve components increases their service life by up to 70% compared to products without coatings. Production tests were conducted at OOO Predpriyatie Sensor (LLC) under the guidance of D.Sc. Victor Kuznetsov.

“Thanks to the nanocomposite structure consisting of tantalum carbide nanocrystals embedded in an amorphous matrix based on tantalum disilicide, the coating is characterized by high hardness of 28 GPa and low wear <10^-7 mm3/(N·m),” Maria Fatykhova.

The research results indicate that optimal concentrations of tantalum carbide, material structure, coating thickness and uniformity, as well as the most effective surface treatment regimes, provide better wear resistance under real operating conditions of oil and gas infrastructure objects.

The work was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 23-49-00141).