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Congress Centre Basel,

16th - 19th September 2012

european powder
metallurgy association



Authors: I.C.Popescu, IBS, Bucharest, Romania

R. M. Negriu, ECONET PROD, Bucharest, Romania
S.G. Badea, ECONET PROD, Bucharest, Romania
C. Besleaga, ECONET PROD, Bucharest, Romania

Case Study Regarding the Behaviour of the

Structural Gradient from Various Composite
Materials (WC-Co/WC-Ni), Used to Manufacture
Ball Valves for the Oil Extraction Industry


Abstract: Valves (ball and seat) equip pumps for extracting petroleum. The balls have to
withstand complex erosive-abrasive wear in corrosive environments, combined with micro
cutting and micro fatigue. The effect of high temperatures will also occur in the extraction
Fig. 5. Coating of rubber sleeve
through underground combustion. Experimental batches of balls with structural gradient were
with a ball of recovered material
(disassembled and ready for
made using virgin and recovered materials and PM technologies. The experiments followed
isostatic pressing)
the recovery of material from worn-out balls, by removing the worn-out layer and completion
with virgin material, and also making balls with structural gradient from dust with various
qualities. We analyzed using the finite element the tension states and the life span of the balls
was estimated. We present an analysis of the ways of deterioration, the used technologies, the
control technologies, the experimental results, the behavior of these balls and new research
Reconditioning is done on our own developed technology, the basis ball being recovered from
paths, to optimize the process of producing balls with gradient.
balls made of a single layer of WC-Co and that were discarded due to advanced wear which no longer
Keywords: petroleum pumps, balls, wear, recovered materials, PM technologies, C.A.D
allowed the maintaining of the working pressure. The balls were grinded to a size where all visible
Piston pumps used for the extraction of oil contain inspections.

Figure 1: Piston pumps used for

the extraction of oil

closing/ opening valves to allow bringing the oil to the

surface. Basically a pump has two valves, each
comprising of a locking ball and valve seat respectively
(Fig.1.). These elements are mainly stressed by wear,
corrosion caused by abrasives powder content and the
substances contained in oil (eg. hydrogen sulfide) at the
temperature from the oil layer, layer pressure and the
column of oil to the surface, the thermo-mechanical
stresses induced by the pumping conditions, the shocks
produced by opening and closing valves etc. there are two
main types of deterioration: internal manufacturing
defects that lead to breakage / separation of smaller or
larger pieces and accelerated wear of the balls and seats
resulting in the loss of sealing of the pumping chamber,
thus resulting the inefficiency of the pump.
2. Experimental tests
First tests have demonstrated the
need to develop a process to ensure
concentricity of the two layers
(core and outer) and to prepare
proper pressing and sintering of the
second layer.

Fig. 2. The uneven thickness of

Fig. 3. The pores occurring in large
the outer layer
numbers at the interface of the two layers

We proposed a new technology, in course of patenting, which is based on a special

technological procedure.

Fig. 4. Device for filling matrix from isoprene rubber

Devices the making of the mold filling in which is placed the ball forming the base material with powder (virgin or
recovered): 1- ball; 2- pad; 3- vibrating plate; 4- filler (CW powder, virgin or recovered); 5- rubber sleeve; 6- stopper
for filling hole; 7- shoulder for fastening of coating rubber; 8- conic shape; 9- separation surfaces prepared for bonding;
10- mounting ring; 11- pad; 12- rubber sleeve; 13- stopper; 14- filler (CW powder, virgin or recovered).

The technological process imposed

choice of WC-Co compositions and WC-Ni
which satisfy the following conditions: a)
the inner layer must ensure good
mechanical resistance; b) the outer layer
must provide good resistance to abrasion
and corrosive environment; c) physicalmechanical properties of both materials
must be similar so the tension produced in
termobaric stresses due to differences of
mechanical properties be minimal.

Fig. 6. The hardness measured on the section of a reconditioned ball

3. The simulation of stresses on the ball made with gradient of properties of material
The ball from the valve was modeled with the valve seat. The ball is modeled as consisting of two
layers of material, the base material being WC-Co with 12% Co and the outer layer material consists of
WC-Ni with 12% Ni. Because it is assumed that during sintering and then during hot isostatic pressing all
internal tensions are eliminated, they are not taken into account. It is also assumed that the manufacturing
process is perfect and no defects of any kind arise. In order to simulate the material properties of the
contact area between the two types of carbide is considered that these properties are uniform and are the
average of the mechanical properties of the carbides used. We made a complex simulation in which we
took into consideration both the solicitations due of pressure and those produced by the temperature from

Fig. 7: Meshing of the model in finite elements

Fig. 8: The stresses state and the main maximum stresses in the assembly

4. Conclusion
Experiments and simulations have shown that the lifetime of the valve components is determined mainly by internal defects produced by a non-optimized technology, the wear caused by the pumped
oil and the stress to fatigue of the ball and valve seat. The state of tensions produced by thermo- mechanical stresses for balls made of two layers may have a degree of hazard imposed by the different
physical and mechanical characteristics of the layers materials and by the uneven thickness of the outer layer.
The strains state produced by the thermo- mechanic stresses for the balls made from two layers can present a degree of danger imposed, on the one hand by the different physic and mechanic
parameters of the materials of the layer and uneven thickness of the outer layer and on the other hand by the structural defects from contact zones between layers.