NANOCOATING IN OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NANOCOATING IN OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
NANOCOATING IN OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
Nanotechnology is the technology of nanoscopic materials with size in the scale which
help in enhancing the performance of processes. This technology is relatively a recent
development in scientific research and is constantly adding to technological advancement since
inception. Fascinating developments which may not have been achieved without nanotechnology
have been made. The technology has no limitation as to which field it can be applied. As a result,
its applications in the oil and gas are enormous ranging from exploration, reservoir drilling,
completion, production processing and refining for enhanced oil recovery, increasing the
performance of equipments and improving reservoir production. So at this point, one of the ways
that has been found to increase productivity and enhance performance in the oil and gas industry is
nanocoating. This paper encourages the use of nanocoating as a nanotechnology in the oil and gas
industry stressing methods by which the nanocoating can be achieved, pointing out their advantage
over convectional coating methods and focusing on a particular method of production of the
nanocoated material. Nanocoating is simply coating a material with a nanoscaled material for
desirable performance of a system or process. This is achieved in several ways. As an example, Dr.
Hung-Jue Sue of Texas A&M University presented a paper at the April 2014 oil and gas
conference about his research into anti-corrosion epoxy coating. He iterated that the presentation is
one of his researches to self-assemble nanoclay which has been shown to give impressive
performance against metal corrosion since it is one of the major concerns in the oil and gas
industry. This is just one of several concerns that will be emphasized and explored in this paper.
This problem is basic and should be properly addressed in order not to interrupt production and
eventually high cost of repairing. Nanocoating stands as a durable corrective measure for several
existing challenges in the oil and gas industry. It helps to prevent drilling equipments from wearing
and provides desirable resistance against insulation and corrosion for pipelines and chemical
plants. Nanocoating is more environmental friendly and efficient than anti-corrosion paints and
other conventional coating methods used in the oil and gas industry. Various reasons account for
covering substrates such as underwater pipeline systems, vessels, reactors, and pipe joints but not
limited to these. Knowing that nanocoating is anti-static and water resistant, it is widely useful for
underwater systems which answer the question of its effectiveness with fluids. It protects color
fading. It can also be used to take off dirt particles in pipes since it is a strong dirt repellant. The
world needs energy for proper functionality. It is however a point of concern that the peak oil is
fast approaching and this calls for much interest in conserving the energy from the existing source
before new sources come to play. The interest of this paper is to explore one of the possible ways
of not loosing energy by proper management of equipments used in the energy industry. Different
methods of nanocoating will be explored and the effect of the nanocoating compared to the
existing conventional coating methods. The objective is to emphasize the importance of
nanocoating and encourage its use for maximum productivity.
The mode of operation in industries particularly the oil and gas industries subject equipments to
severe conditions which are detrimental to the productivity of the industry. However, it should be
noted that such severe conditions cannot be averted as exploration, drilling, processing and
production are very tedious tasks in the industry. You can imagine the stress pipes and vessels will
be subjected to having to transport crude oil from beneath the earth surface for further processing
and eventually to end users. There are problems arising along the line which may not be prevented
but can be combated. To increase productivity at low cost, the industry wants equipments with
high durability and efficiency so as not to be faced with the problem of having to change
equipments from time to time, particularly the underground equipments. Nanotechnology has
found a gap to bridge in the oil and gas industry. One of such is the special types of nanocoating to
protect against yield threatening problems such as corrosion. Nano-structured coating is
experiencing growth in the oil and gas industry over the traditional coating as they offer
significantly improved performance and ultimately cost effective. Today, properties such as
corrosion resistance, abrasive resistance, strength, hardness, friction coefficient, local wear
resistance, stress corrosion cracking, electrical resistance, solid solubility, hydrogen solubility,
permeability, thermal stability and malleability which are potential solutions to problems in the oil
and gas industry have been greatly improved with nanocoating. There are basically a number of
ways to achieve this painting of nanosized particles comprising some sort of mineral or chemicals
on surfaces. Depending on the particular property to improve, nanocoating can be used to achieve
a number of dependable results. Anti-corrosion coating, lubricant coating, thermal coating and
anti-fouling coating are the different types of nanocoating that exist.
Apart from the fact that the metal parts of machinery make dreadful and unpleasant sounds when
they slide against each other they also damage the machinery and eventually flaws its efficiency.
This is essentially the benefit of lubricant coating in the oil industry. Lubricant nanocoatings are
more efficient compared to the conventional lubricants. They keep the machinery at top-notch
performance based on the lubrication they provide. This ultimately increases the life span of the
Geothermal conditions that could melt the metal of the drills and other equipments used in the
extraction process from the earth in the oil industry are being guided against by thermal
nanocoating. Most of the time, these equipments have to work to very deep levels of the earth
surface for very long period of time in order to get the oil to the surface. As a result, thermal
nanocoating helps to provide the equipments with required protection and defense to withstand the
heat and very high pressures at those levels.
It should be noted that pipes, machineries, equipments or facility made of metal and sited
underwater have bacteria and plants cling unto the metal surface. The continuous accumulation of
these bacteria and plants over time is very disadvantageous to the performance of the machinery.
For example underground network of pipes with accumulated bacteria or plant can possible affect
flow rates. Anti-fouling nanocoating tremendously helps the oil industry by providing required
protection against these things due to the fact that underwater operations are bedrocks in the oil
Equipments and machinery generally made of iron or steel can be corroded by air or water. Anti-
corrosion nanocoating allows the equipment and machinery to resist such corrosion. By applying
anti-corrosion nanocoating to an object makes it much stronger and improve its performance
coupled with its life span greatly. Anti-corrosion provides the equipments and machinery the
protection they need from such corrosion. The drills, wells and processing units are often sited in
deep ocean waters and very harsh environment. As a result of this, the metals used in making the
equipments get corroded quickly thereby making the machinery to breakdown. Replacing the
machinery is very expensive as it incurs huge cost from manufacturing to installation. Anti-
corrosion nanocoating has helped to solve this problem. So, oil industry have little or less to worry
about regarding replacement of corroded machinery and this encourages greater profit.
These nanocoatings vary by method of production. Thermal spraying, transitional metal nitride
coating, super rough and super hard nanocrystalline coatings, and nanocomposite coatings are
methods which can be employed to achieve a desired nanocoated material depending on the
material of coating and the base material. Nanocomposite coatings can be achieved using various
base materials and coating nanomaterial. Some of the nanocomposite material-based methods are
nitride nanocomposite coating, nanocomposite coatings of nickel/aluminum oxide, aluminum
based composite nanocoating, aluminum/ titanium oxide nanocomposite coating,
aluminum/aluminum oxide nanocomposite coating, nanostructured coatings of tungsten
carbide/nickel-cobalt, titanium oxide nanoparticle reinforced nickel coating by electro-deposition
and many more. This paper focuses on the nanocomposite coating using titanium oxide
nanoparticle reinforced nickel coating by electro-deposition method. Electro-deposition provides
excellent nanocomposites. It is highly used because of its low cost and the highly rated
performance of the resulting nanocomposites it produces. The application of electro-deposition is
by using a template used for the making of nano-wire comprising of different materials.
At present, researchers have had to focus on many plating methods for the production of
nanocrystalline material using direct current as the electro-deposition method. Electro-deposition
gives non-porous products in most cases. Definite shape or surface coatings can be created through
this method. It is generally believed that if titanium oxide (TiO2) is blended in nickel (Ni), it will
improve the performance of the Ni coating. This work will however investigate the resulting
properties of an electroplated Ni nanocomposite that has different quantities of TiO2 and compare
with properties of Ni coating without incorporation of TiO2 which is an example of a traditional
coating method. It should be noted that the reinforced material can also be carbon nanotubes
(CNTs), polymers, aluminum oxide, polytetrafluoroethylene and silicon carbide. However, TiO2 is
one of the most used because of its oxidation-resistant, high strength and good corrosion-resistant
3. EXPERIMENTAL DETAILS
The experimental approach to achieve this nanocoating is in two parts. The first is the preparation
of coatings followed by the characterization of the coating. This approach is one out of several
approaches to achieving an improved performance nanocoating property.
3.1 Preparation of coatings
In the preparation of the coatings, a number of materials are needed. These materials are mild steel,
alkaline cleaning solution, Acid solution, de-ionized water, dry nitrogen gas (N2), standard watts
bath, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and potentiostat system. The typical schematic is
shown in figure 1a.
A 20mm×20mm×1mm dimension mild steel plates were used as the base material also known as
the substrate. These mild steel plates have excellent tensile strength, yield strength, elongation,
hardness, Young’s modulus, and stiffness property as shown in the mild steel stress- strain diagram
(figure 1b). Due to the inherent flexibility property, it can be machined and shaped easily. For pure
mild steel plates, the substrate was cut into a surface with an acid using acid etch process after it
was thoroughly cleaned in an alkaline cleaning solution. This purification was followed by
electroplating of the steel substrate with nickel and reinforced with TiO2 nanoparticles. To ensure
each stage is ions-free, after each stage de-ionized water was used to rinse before it’s been finally
dried by dry N2 gas. A standard Watts bath which contains suitable surfactants to lower the
interfacial or surface tension with up to 12g/l TiO2 nanoparticles was used as the electrolyte.
Electro-deposition was carried out for 1hr at a current density of 3A/dm2
in the 50o
Figure 1a: typical schematic of coating preparation.
3.2 Characterization of the coating
After the coatings have been prepared, it is essential to characterize it. Surface morphology,
structure, composition of the surface and cross-sectional profile of the nanocoated materials were
observed at an accelerating voltage of 15KV using a scanning electron microscopy (SEM). SEM is
basically ideal for composite materials of this nature. Flat pyramidal diamond flat tip which have
three sides with angle of 104.3o
at room temperature to carry out the hardness test. The metal
matrix was indented to a depth of about 500nm using an indenter which was applied at the rate of
50nm/s. This indenter was also used to retrieve from the surface of the coating. A ball-on-disk
computer-aided tribotester which oscillates and reciprocates was used for the evaluation of the
wear resistance. The counter system was a tungsten carbide ball with 6mm diameter. This wear test
was carried out at room temperature in dry condition with a load of 12N at 12mm/s sliding velocity
through a total sliding distance of 10000mm.
Electrochemical evaluations were done with three electrodes which are standard electrodes using a
potentiostat system. The evaluations were carried out at room temperature in 3.5% NaCl solution
using a 250ml cell. With respect to saturated calomel electrode (SCE), the readings of the
potentials were taken. The specimens were immersed in the electrolyte so that the open circuit
potential was measured until a stable value is reached. This is done before Tafel polarization. From
a starting potential of 500mV below the open circuit potential, the potentiodynamic polarization
curves were recorded. Until the potential reached 500mV, these potentiodynamic polarization
curves were scanned in the positive direction at a scan rate of 1mV/s. Anti-corrosion properties of
the nanocoated material were tested using weight loss method. This was achieved by accelerating
the corrosion rate of the specimen by immersing the specimen in about 35% NaCl solution at room
temperature. The weight differences for the specimens after 10days and after 20days of immersion
were used for to validate the corrosion resistance property using a corrosion monitoring system
Figure 1b: stress- strain diagram for mild-steel
Fig. 1c circular portion of coated material to be analyzed using corrosion monitoring system
4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.1 Characterization of nickel (Ni) nanocomposite coating
The SEM morphologies of Ni coating and Ni-TiO2 nanocoating which contains 12g/l TiO2
nanoparticles are shown in figure 2. The Ni coating microstructures are distinctively different
from those of Ni-TiO2 nanocoating. This difference is evident in the structural grain size of
each of the substrates. A regular structured image with large grain size in the range of 2-4µm
was found for the Ni coating (figure 2a). A co-deposition of TiO2 nanoparticles which are more
uniformly in the Ni matrix was observed with Ni-TiO2 coating indicating smaller grain sizes of
0.1 - 1µm (figure 2b). The analysis therefore shows that the morphology of Ni-TiO2 is uniform,
well packed and continuous.
Figure 2: (a) SEM on Ni coating (b) SEM of Ni-TiO2 nanocoating
4.2 Hardness of Ni coating and Ni-TiO2 nanocoating
It was found that the hardness property in Ni-TiO2 nanocoating is great compared to Ni coating.
This hardness property is graphically shown in figure 3. This hardness property of Ni-TiO2 was
measured at different contents of TiO2 nanoparticles. It was found that the hardness property
increases as the TiO2 nanoparticle increases. The highest hardness was measured to be 387HV
with 12g/l TiO2 nanoparticle content. This is significant in the application of the nanocoating as
extremely hard materials are needed to be used in very harsh conditions in the oil industry. Fine
grain structures and high strengthening effect results from the co-deposition of TiO2 nanoparticles
in the Ni matrix which can restrict the growth of the Ni grains. This however is responsible for the
increase in the hardness of the Ni-TiO2 nanocoating as the TiO2 nanoparticle content is increased.
Figure 3: hardness of Ni based nanocoatings
4.3 Anti-wear properties of the coatings
It was found out that there is a steadily decreasing pattern in the wear rate as the TiO2 nanoparticle
content increases. This TiO2 nanoparticle reinforcement effect on the Ni matrix nanocomposite
wear rate is shown in figure 4. It is reported that the wear rate of the Ni-TiO2 nanocoating with
12g/l TiO2 reinforcement has about 48% improvement on the Ni coating with a value of
which is lower compared to the wear rate of Ni coating which is on the high side
with a value of . The observed improvement is attributed to two things.
First of all, the high wear resistance of TiO2 helps to reduce the resulting wear rate of the
nanocoating. This is coupled with the fact that the density of the nanocoating is high with small
grain sizes as seen in figure 2. Secondly, the direct contact between the Ni matrix and the tungsten
carbide ball is considerably reduced by an increase in the surface fraction of the TiO2
nanoparticles. So, when TiO2 is deposited together with the Ni matrix, the load carrying area is
increased by the very fine smooth surface morphology of the nanocoating and consequently
reduces the stress developed between the friction couples. These two reasons account for the
improvement found in the nanocoating. The SEM was used to image the worn coating surfaces.
This is clearly depicted in figure 5 showing that the width and depth of the worn coating path of
TiO2 reinforced Ni nanocoating is much smaller than that of the pure Ni coating. This confirms the
excellent wear resistant property of the nanocoating.
Ni coating Ni-TiO2
Figure 4: wear rates on Ni based nanocoatings
Figure 5: SEM of worn surfaces (a) pure Ni coating (b) Ni-TiO2 nanocoating
4.4 Corrosion resistance of the coating
Corrosion rate of Ni-TiO2 reinforced nanoparticle coated with 12g/l TiO2 is considerably smaller
than the corrosion rate of Ni coating. This disparity in corrosion resistance property was found to
be about 25%. This is shown by the Tafel curve in figure 6a. Line 1 represents the Ni coating while
line 2 on the curve represents the Ni-TiO2 reinforced nanoparticle coated with 12g/l TiO2. With the
electrochemical parameters (corrosion potential Ecorr, corrosion current Icorr and corrosion rates
Rcorr) shown in Table 1 it was also observed that increasing the TiO2 content of the nanocoated
material, the corrosion rate decreases as a result of the decrease in corrosion current and a shift in
the corrosion potential to a more positive point. These validate the performance of nanocoated
materials against corrosion coupled with the fact that the nanocoating has much less pores and
Ni coating Ni-TiO2 coating
cracks with more denser and compacted surface than a typical conventional coating such as the Ni
Figure 6: (a) Tafel curve on Ni coating and Ni-TiO2 nanocoating (b) weight loss after 10 and
20days in 35% NaCl solution.
Figure 6b shows the weight loss of the different Ni based coatings treated with 35% NaCl solution.
Series 1 in the legend represents what happens after 10days while series 2 represents what happens
after 20 days. This chart reveals that TiO2 reinforced nanocoating losses less weight compared to
the conventional coating method and this weight loss decreases considerably with increasing the
TiO2 content thereby validating the corrosion resistant property of TiO2 nanoparticles.
TABLE 1. Electrochemical parameters for tested coatings
Samples Ecorr (mV) Icorr (µA) Rcorr (µmpy)
Ni coating -755 333 15.3
Ni-TiO2 nanocoating (4g/l) -742 314 14.4
Ni-TiO2 nanocoating (8g/l) -733 296 13.6
Ni-TiO2 nanocoating (12g/l) -727 258 11.5
Heavy equipments made of metals are of use in the oil industry because of several properties
(mechanical and electrical). However, problems posed by these equipments are cost incurring and
require a lot of man- power to fix. These problems which includes wearing out, leakages,
corrosion, rusting, pipe puncture and so on are actually been addressed with nanotechnology with
great performance as compared to conventional methods. So, I can deduce from this review that
the commercial and industrial applications of nanocomposite structures made from electro-
deposition are of great importance in the oil industry. These applications are due to the following
Electroplating and electro-shaping have tremendous impact in terms of usage in
Electrodeposition is capable of producing highly dense nanocomposites with no pores.
It can produce nanocoated matrix materials, composites, alloys in different forms in a
They have low cost of production.
Based on the assumption of Hall-Petch, nanocrystals have different practical applications
which are based on existing standard for the development of resistant coating.
Mechanical properties of electrodeposited nanostructures are among these industrial
As a ground-breaking technology, nanotechnology is set to increase productivity at low cost
in industries. The question that might come to heart is where do these materials go when
they reach their usage limit? The possibility of recycling and recoating exist especially for
the high cost panels.
The fundamental problems threatening productivity in the oil industry stems from the performance
of the industrial equipments and machinery. These problems are mostly associated with very harsh
conditions to which these equipments are subjected to. The objective of this study is to investigate
the performance of a mild steel Ni- TiO2 nanocoating as compared with conventional Ni coating
by studying their mechanical properties. The study reveals that Ni-TiO2 nanocomposite reinforced
with TiO2 nanoparticles has excellent mechanical properties with smoother, denser and less porous
surface. Ni-TiO2 nanocomposite showed higher hardness, wear resistant and corrosion resistant
propertied compared to the Ni coating. These properties are essential in the oil industry.
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