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Title: Degradation of different elastomeric polymers in simulated geothermal environments at 300°C

This study evaluates the degradation of six different elastomeric polymers used for O-rings: EPDM, FEPM, type I- and II-FKM, FFKM, and FSR, in five different simulated geothermal environments at 300 °C: 1) non-aerated steam/cooling cycles, 2) aerated steam/cooling cycles, 3) water-based drilling fluid, 4) CO 2-rich geo-brine fluid, and, 5) heat–cool water quenching cycles. The factors assessed included the extent of oxidation, changes in thermal behavior, micro-defects, permeation of ionic species from the test environments into the O-rings, silicate-related scale-deposition, and changes in the O-rings' elastic modulus. The reliability of the O-rings to maintain their integrity depended on the elastomeric polymer composition and the exposure environment. FSR disintegrated while EPDM was oxidized only to some degree in all the environments, FKM withstood heat-water quenching but underwent chemical degradation, FEPM survived in all the environments with the exception of heat-water quenching where it underwent severe oxidation-induced degradation, and FFKM displayed outstanding compatibility with all the tested environments. This study discusses the degradation mechanisms of the polymers under the aforementioned conditions.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0141-3910; 569601
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000; AC02-98CH 10886
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Polymer Degradation and Stability
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0141-3910
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; elastomer; FKM; FFKM; EPDM; FEPM; thermal degradation; chemical degradation
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1245256