PDC Cutter for Diamond Bearing

2022-08-08 Share

PDC Cutter for Diamond Bearing


An industry that operates in some of the harshest environments in the world sometimes needs to call on the toughest material for wear parts.

Enter the industrial diamond, discovered in the 1950s. Synthetic diamonds can tolerate abrasive, high-temperature, and corrosive environments and stand up to high loads.

The oil and gas industry long ago embraced the industrial diamond for polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) drill bits, which were introduced in the 1970s. Not all (PDC) diamond is the same. It may look the same, black on top and silver on the bottom, but it doesn’t perform all the same. Every drilling location presents its unique challenges. That’s why engineers need to tailor the right diamond to the right drilling conditions.

Diamond is underutilized as an engineering material, and can be used in so many other applications, such as wearing parts like valves and seals in harsh environments.

For the last 20 years, engineers have put the world’s toughest material to work protecting bearings in equipment like mud motors, electrical submersible pumps (ESPs), turbines, and directional drilling tools.

Polycrystalline Diamond radial bearings, also named PDC bearings, are comprised of a series of PDC cutters assembled (usually by brazing) in carrier rings. A typical PDC radial bearing set includes a rotating and stationary bearing ring. These two rings oppose each other with the PDC surface on the inside diameter of one ring in direct contact with the PDC surface on the outside diameter of the mating ring.

Using diamond bearings on rotary steerable systems can increase the tool’s lifetime, decrease the tool’s size and reduce complexity by removing seals. On mud motors, it reduces the tool’s bit-to-bend and increases the load capacity.

You can’t control what’s in seawater or drilling mud, whether it’s sand, rock, grit, dirt, or grime, it all goes right through a diamond-bearing. Diamond bearings can handle “pretty much everything.”

If a traditional bearing’s seal breaks, acid, seawater, and drilling mud can get in, and the bearing will fail. A diamond-bearing flips a traditional bearing’s weakness on its head. Industrial diamond bearings use seawater to keep them cool, turning a weakness into a solution. 

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