The Functions of Elastomers in the Oilfield

Most of the oil and gas industry’s attention is focused on equipment such as BOP Rams, drills, and other heavy-duty machinery. This makes sense since these machines are the most visible and do the most work. However, as you maintain and occasionally upgrade your equipment, don’t forget about a particularly important piece of oilfield machinery: elastomers.

Elastomers are rubber-like substances that act as sealants or other important parts on BOPs. Different types of elastomers will work in different oilfield environments, depending on your exact needs. Let’s take a look at what elastomers can do for your oilfield.

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What are Elastomers?

The term “elastomer” comes from “elastic polymer” and refers to an elastomer’s ability to stretch great distances but still recover their original shape and size. An elastomer’s chain-like molecules make it a very strong, versatile sealant for BOPs and other oilfield equipment. Interestingly, a common elastomer known as polyisoprene is actually plant-based, manufactured from the sap produced by rubber trees. This natural formula has withstood the test of time even with the rise of artificial, oil-based elastomers.

Pro Tip: Natural elastomers are more environmentally friendly than their oil-based counterparts, but sometimes the artificial versions are necessary. What does your workplace require for reliable elastomers?

Features & Benefits

Different types of elastomers can withstand different oil well conditions or work environments, allowing you to customize your oilfield equipment to match your exact needs. No single elastomer formula can withstand every scenario, requiring tests and experiments to find the ideal elastomer type for your situation.

However, in general, elastomers provide an excellent sealant for oilfield equipment. Most types can withstand high temperatures, high pressure, exposure to oil and natural gas in the ground, and more extreme environmental factors. It just takes a little research to find the right type for your workplace.

Testing

There’s no single method to test elastomers and find the right one for your needs. However, you can easily determine your requirements for your specific oilfield equipment. Keep these factors in mind as you test and look for the ideal elastomer:

  • Oil well temperature
  • Potential solvents the elastomer will encounter
  • Pressure and strength requirements
  • Stretching or compacting the elastomer

Using Elastomers in the Oilfield

Though they may not get as much attention as the rest of the oilfield equipment, elastomers are critically important to everyday work safety and efficiency. Don’t neglect them in your maintenance or replacement attempts. A damaged elastomer can lead to a damaged BOP, which can result in disaster.

To learn more about different types of equipments’ functions on the oilfield, connect with us.