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Technical Ceramic Wear Pads

Technical Ceramic Wear Pads for Pipeline Inspection

Inline pipe inspection pigs are used for inspecting oil pipelines in midstream operations. While pigs traditionally have been used to scrape and clean the pipe, modern intelligent or “smart” pigs include electronics and sensors to collect data about surface pitting and corrosion, cracks, and weld defects, as well as roundness.

Some tools measure magnetic flux leakage or use electromagnetic acoustic transducers to help operators understand the conditions within the pipeline and address any maintenance issues to minimize potential environmental damage and keep production at an optimal level. Wear pads slide against the inner diameter of the pipe wall (typically fixed on the end of spring-loaded arms), with the sensors mounted underneath the pads to take measurements.

CoorsTek zirconia is used for pipeline inspection pig wear pads because of its excellent wear resistance and toughness, as well as its magnetic and electrical properties. Zirconia’s superior sliding wear resistance leads to longer wear pad life, and its high fracture toughness enables it to resist breaking when it encounters surface irregularities within the pipe. Zirconia also features low dielectric loss, meaning the material can maintain a high level of electromagnetic energy with very little (if any) measurable dissipation of that energy. As a result, zirconia-based wear pads don’t affect the performance of the mounted measurement sensors. Using CoorsTek’s technical ceramic wear pads will extend equipment life, lower total cost of operations, and reduce non-productive time.

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