R&D Nonprofit to Open Standard Corrosion Testing Facility

The nonprofit applied research and development (R&D) organization Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) (San Antonio, Texas, USA) will open a new testing facility that will provide cost-efficient, standardized corrosion testing for its oil and gas clients. Scheduled for early April, the facility will be located on the institute’s campus and its primary function will be to test the sulfide stress cracking (SSC) resistance of carbon steel alloys for oil wells and offshore drilling applications.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Trillo, senior research engineer with SwRI and one of the leaders of the project, the organization’s previous laboratory work was fit for testing, meaning that it was suitable for evaluating materials within specific drilling environments and under certain testing conditions. However, such testing did not meet the client’s end-use need. With that in mind, says

Trillo, the new facility will “mainly be looking at carbon steel materials used as casings in down-hole drilling applications with high hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels.”

In developing the new facility, SwRI relied on NACE International (Houston, Texas, USA) standard test method TM0177 “Laboratory Testing of Metals for Resistance to Sulfide Stress Cracking and Stress Corrosion Cracking in H2S Environments.” Widely used to qualify material performance in oilfield environments, this standard will be a key part of the R&D organization’s corrosion testing efforts. “This new facility will provide us with the ability to perform repetitive TMO177, NACE A testing in a cost effective and repeatable manner while providing our clients with same level of service they have experienced with more complex testing,” says James Dante, manager of SwRI’s environmental performance of materials section.

Once construction of the testing facility is completed, it will store multiple test cells allowing triplicate samples to be run on different materials. Testing samples in isolated cells will enable researchers to change samples without disturbing other samples undergoing testing, says Steve Clay, a SwRI senior engineering technologist.

As part of its standard operating procedure, SwRI researchers will provide photographs of any cracks that occur during testing. In addition, they will report online environmental testing conditions including temperature and oxygen content.

Source: Southwest Research Institute, www.swri.org