The Smithers Rapra conference “will have the key decision makers in the oil and gas sector present and eager to learn from our expert speakers,” according to Kevin Hudson, conference producer for the company. “In this business, we are all working toward the same goals of a superior quality product at a low cost to our business.
“Meetings like this are just the place for our international audience to come together and discuss the latest developments in regulations and standards, seals, rigid and flexible pipes, hoses, tanks and vessels, and heavily concentrate on the use of non-metallic products in oil and gas.”
The April conference and exhibition will feature more than 20 presentations assessing market trends, technical development and application-related advances, Smithers Rapra said. Question and answer sessions and panel discussions are part of the mix.
Hudson said there is a need to understand the limitations and service life of rubber and plastic materials under their application conditions.
He cited a number of influencing factors, one of which is a lack of new generic polymers currently entering the market, which means that in the short term, it is unlikely there will be “a step change in the capability of materials to meet more demanding oil and gas service conditions,” such as chemical resistance, temperature extremes and high pressure.
Other factors include a lack of relevant long-term design data for available materials and, for applications where material performance is satisfactory, operators' desire to extend the service life of components to achieve greater cost efficiencies.
Another concern is that without design changes, safety margins may become reduced, creating a greater need for more frequent maintenance, he said.
“Legacy performance is no longer accepted in isolation; test data must be generated,” Hudson said. “A criticism of accelerated material tests is they don't accurately simulate the service conditions. The prediction can, however, be refined by measuring the material properties of parts removed from service, either from riders or at the end of life.”
He said an alternative approach under consideration “is the development of smart materials with advanced functionalities such as self-diagnosis or self-healing.” He noted Smithers Rapra is working to develop test methodologies to improve life prediction from materials data.