Researchers at the University of Manchester have found several ways to use graphene to extend the life of pipe systems in the oil and gas industry.
In general, the pipes used in hydrocarbon production are made of internal layers of polymer or composite and externally reinforced with steel. Carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulfide and water, penetrating through the protective layer of pipes, often lead to corrosion and catastrophic leaks.
But, as found by British scientists, if graphene is mechanically mixed with a polymer or graphene is used as internal layer in plastic pipes through which oil and gas are pumped from offshore fields, corrosion can be avoided.
Thus, during the experiments, nano-layer of graphene was applied to polyamide 11 – this plastic is usually used in liners. The pipe was tested under operating conditions at a temperature of 60°C and a pressure up to 400 times the atmospheric pressure. The results showed reduction of CO2 permeation by over 90%.
According to various calculations, for example, in the US pipe corrosion costs the oil and gas industry losses of $ 1.4 billion. Therefore, graphene technology will not only save on repair work, but also become a real environmental solution.
“Graphene has many amazing properties, but it is not always easy to realise them on a large scale. Our work represents an important step in taking graphene out of the laboratory and into the real world”, said Professor Peter Budd, who led the research.