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Gazprom Neft developed and successfully tested new superhard materials

Gazprom Neft’s Science and Technology Center has completed successful trials with a prototype of drill bit blades for drilling equipment that are made from a new superhard material, tungsten pentaboride. The design of this unique material was ordered by Gazprom Neft, and it is 30% stronger and twice more resistant to high temperatures than its alternatives used to manufacture the drill bits today.

The development project was a joint effort of Gazprom Neft experts and specialists from Skoltech and Vereshchagin Institute for High Pressure Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. At the initial stage of the project, a research team from Skoltech guided by Professor Artyom Oganov used its proprietary digital algorithm USPEX to predict that new superhard materials with desired properties. Next, the new predicted chemical structures were synthesized and examined by the Institute for High Pressure Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the town of Troitsk. The compound was named tungsten pentaboride. Today, another project phase has been successfully completed: the new material was used to manufacture and test the cutting disks — prototypes of the future drill bit blades.

The trials were carried out with granite and showed that the new material is 30% stronger than pobedit* (tungsten carbide) and its alternatives. Moreover, tungsten pentaboride has resistance to high temperatures than that of pobedit and can withstand temperatures up to 2200 degrees Centigrade.

Today, Gazprom Neft’s Science and Technology Center continues its research into the manufacture of new materials and products using industrial grade equipment.

“Successful development of drill bits from new materials proves effective cooperation with our research and academic partners. Working on joint development projects, we deal with the challenges that are of high relevance for the oil and gas industry and for many other branches of industry,” said Mars Khasanov, CEO at Gazpromneft Science and Technology Center.
Mars Khasanov
Mars Khasanov CEO at Gazpromneft Science and Technology Center
Notes for editors

*Pobedit the generalized name of the group of hard alloys that are used in rock drilling and metalworking.