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Ball Seat Insert with Blended Materials or Multiple Seal Points

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000243485D
Publication Date: 2015-Sep-24
Document File: 1 page(s) / 17K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A Ball Seat Insert is constructed with multiple materials on its spherical sealing surface or is constructed with multiple, nested cylindrical leaves at its spherical sealing surface. Both designs can provide both a hard and soft sealing surface for the Ball. Ball Valves used in subterranean wells are frequently required to seal liquids and gases at both high (e.g., 10,000 psi) and low (e.g., 200 psi) pressure differentials. They may also be required to operate in debris-laden fluids and open while under differential pressure. While "soft" Ball Seats (e.g. Teflon, PEEK) obtain a better low-pressure seal, "hard" Ball Seats (e.g. metal, ceramic, Tungsten Carbide) may achieve a better high-pressure seal, provide longer service life in debris-laden fluids, or prevent damage during openings against differential. Prior art exists where, in an effort to satisfy these conflicting requirements, a concentric groove was cut in a "hard" Ball Seat and a soft Seal Ring made of a material like Teflon or PEEK was installed. At low pressures, a seal was initiated on the softer Seal Ring, while at higher pressures, the Seal Ring deflected and a metal-to-metal seal developed. However, depending on the design of the soft Seal Ring and the manner it was retained, opening the Ball against a differential pressure tended to damage the Seal Ring. A better design might have the softer sealing region better anchored to the Ball Seat. The interference fit serves to both retain the Seat Insert during opening against a differential and also to provide a pressure seal with the Ball Seat. In this design, polar 3-d printing (additive manufacturing) is used construct an Inconel shell containing a series of concentric materials at the sealing end of the Seat Insert. The materials are changed as the cross section is built radially. The materials are changed so that the material hardness varies from extremely hard at the inner and outer rings to softer material in the intermediate rings to softest material near the center ring (e.g., the materials may change while moving radially outward from ceramic to 440C stainless to Nitronic 50 to Graphite or Brass to Nitronic 50 to 440C stainless to ceramic). Such a blend of material hardnesses would provide harder surfaces at the innermost and outermost regions to scrape hard debris particles from the sealing surfaces, and would provide softer sealing surfaces near the middle of the sealing area. Constructed by polar 3-d printing, where strategically placed voids create concentric cylindrical leaves that are rigidly attached to one end of the Seat Insert. The "free" ends can flex to contact the spherical surface of the Ball. The leaf effecting the seal would be supported by the leaves underneath it. In this manner, even though the material is hard, the voids between the leaves soften the sealing area

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Ball Seat Insert with Blended Materials or Multiple Seal Points

A Ball Seat Insert is constructed with multiple materials on its spherical sealing surface or is constructed with multiple, nested cylindrical leaves at its spherical sealing surface. Both designs can provide both a hard and soft sealing surface for the Ball.

Ball Valves used in subterranean wells are frequently required to seal liquids and gases at both high (e.g., 10,000 psi) and low (e.g., 200 psi) pressure differentials. They may also be required to operate in debris-laden fluids and open while under differential pressure. While "soft" Ball Seats (e.g. Teflon, PEEK) obtain a better low-pressure seal, "hard" Ball Seats (e.g. metal, ceramic, Tungsten Carbide) may achieve a better high-pressure seal, provide longer service life in debris-laden fluids, or prevent damage during openings against differential.  Prior art exists where, in an effort to satisfy these conflicting requirements, a concentric groove was cut in a "hard" Ball Seat and a soft Seal Ring made of a material like Teflon or PEEK was installed. At low pressures, a seal was initiated on the softer Seal Ring, while at higher pressures, the Seal Ring deflected and a metal-to-metal seal developed. However, depending on the design of the soft Seal Ring and the manner it was retained, opening the Ball against a differential pressure tended to damage the Seal Ring. A better design might have the softer sealing region better anchored to the Ball Seat....