Coatings for next-generation harsh environment systems.

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From space to oil and gas wells, polyimide coatings and films are used to protect critical components such as fiber optic cables, enameled wires, and sensors in harsh environments. Polyimide materials provide exceptional thermal durability, chemical resistance, mechanical toughness, and dielectric properties. Conventional polyimide coatings and films are rated for continuous use at temperatures up to 300 °C (572 °F) with short excursions to 350 °C and higher. However, new coatings are needed to enable engineered systems to explore deeper wells and provide real-time monitoring of temperature and mechanical stressors in the harshest aerospace and automotive environments. Polymer coatings with extended lifetimes above 350 °C at pressures up to 10,000 psi are required to enable the next generation of harsh environment devices, but under these conditions, current polyimide coatings rapidly fail due to thermal and hydrolytic decomposition. Through optimization of polymer structure and synthetic methods, Tetramer Technologies has developed a series of new polyimide coatings that provide up to a 10X increase in useful lifetime between 300 and 350 °C in air compared to current polyimide coatings. Beyond this exceptional thermal stability, each of the three Tetrimide™ products was engineered for targeted applications: Tetrimide™ ICP brings exceptional chemical resistance and hydrolytic stability to down-hole devices, Tetrimide™ SCP offers revolutionary ease-of-use to users of polyimide optical fiber in avionics, aerospace, and medical applications, and Tetrimide™ MW possesses enhanced mechanical toughness and adhesion to metal substrates for ultra-high temperature enameled wire. In this presentation, Tetramer discusses the unique features of each of the new Tetrimide™ coatings and their benefits to engineered systems in various harsh environment applications. We present an innovative solvent processable polyimide fiber coating, Tetrimide™ SCP, with enhanced thermal performance and utility for avionics, automotive, and medical systems. Current commercial polyimide coatings are very difficult to strip from the fiber or wire, requiring expensive stripping devices or chemical stripping with hot (150 °C) sulfuric acid. For this reason, the aerospace industry opts to terminate polyimide optical fibers without stripping the coating, a practice that prevents the use of single mode fiber. The Tetrimide™ SCP coating allows the polyimide coating to be stripped from the fiber with specific, benign solvents while maintaining thermal stability more than an order of magnitude greater than industry standard polyimide coated fiber and retaining resistance to common avionic fluids. These improvements translate to increased reliability, greater ease-of-use, and reduced cost of ownership for avionic fiber systems through improved thermal performance and more facile connectorization. Ongoing work aims to expand the applications for the Tetrimide™ coatings where the exceptional thermal stability, high chemical resistance, and optimized processability will enable the next-generation of harsh environment fibers, wires, sensors, and film products. The development of the Tetrimide™ coatings was supported by the National Science Foundation through SBIR Grant No. 1330948.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability: TechConnect Briefs 2018
Published: May 13, 2018
Pages: 89 - 92
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Energy & Sustainability
Topics: Materials for Oil & Gas
ISBN: 978-0-9975117-9-6