Energetic materials with enhanced thermal stability are crucial for several commercial applications, including oilfield exploration and completion operations with high thermal stability in more extreme environments.
Energetic materials with enhanced thermal stability are of interest for various commercial applications. For example, oilfield exploration and completion operations, specifically perforating systems, have a need for explosives with higher thermal stability as those operations move into more extreme environments. An essential consideration for these applications is not only the maximum temperature capability of the explosives but also the duration of the operating time. All explosives have specific temperature and time ranges over which they may be used before some type of decomposition occurs. Generally, this decomposition will lead to self-heating and/or outgassing with undesirable side effects. Heating leads to an increase in the decomposition rate or, in extreme cases, to unintended initiation. Out-gassing of the materials in sealed units may lead to pressure build up and requires use of non-hermetic components which are often undesirable. In addition, byproducts formed from out-gassing may desensitize any energetics found in the explosive train. Both heat and out-gassing could potentially lead to a situation where the component is rendered inert. As a result, it is desirable to increase the thermal stability of these energetics thereby increasing the associated temperature-time range of the component.
All explosives have specific temperature and time ranges over which they may be used before
some type of decomposition occurs.
TIME AND TEMPERATURE
Traditionally, high temperature perforating operations have utilized HNS, which is potentially stable to ~500°F for approximately 100 hours, as an output in detonators. A variety of other materials have been developed that may be useful as replacements for HNS in this application and which may afford increased thermal stability and sensitivity. Examples include NONA, PYX, and ONT. In each case, however, the operating range is influenced by the temperature time capability of the primary material(s) used in the explosive initiator.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
PacSci EMC’s R&D group is active in a variety of projects to develop new, novel primary, secondary and pyrotechnic materials for both military and commercial applications. Current research is focused on projects that would increase the thermal stability of this explosive initiator utilizing two potential methods.
The first involves preparation of a known, thermally stable, primary explosive that is suitable for use in high temperature applications. Modifications to the standard manufacturing process and production of a higher purity product have resulted in a material with temperature time capabilities which surpass those available today. In addition, a recently developed manufacturing process may allow highly consistent control of both particle morphology and purity of this material and offers substantial benefits over standard production methods.
The second involves a new energetic material (BI-820), designed and developed by PacSci EMC to have high temperature stability and which, when incorporated with a high temperature output in a detonator, may offer enhanced temperature capacity over those currently available. Utilizing this approach, a detonator with temperature stability to 550°F or greater may become a reality.
PacSci EMC is leading efforts to provide oil and gas companies with the materials and components they require for completion operations done under the unusually demanding conditions found today.
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