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Keywords:

  • celluation;
  • gels;
  • multi-walled carbon nanotubes;
  • o-ring;
  • rubber nanocomposite

Abstract

The scarcity of oil resources is going to become one of the main factors threatening the stability of the global economy. To avoid an energy crisis in the future, it is essential to increase oil extraction in much deeper wells, experiencing higher temperatures and pressures. Exploring these deeper areas will demand novel and robust materials. Rubber sealants, or O-rings, are especially key components in enabling the probing and production of oil in deeper wells, so that higher temperature and pressure reservoirs are reached. In this account, it is demonstrated that carbon nanotubes homogeneously and randomly dispersed in rubber matrices, are able to generate durable sealants that operate satisfactorily at extremely high temperatures and pressures (e.g., 260 °C and 239 MPa). The key issues in these novel composites are: i) the nanotube surface-control and reactivity, ii) the used of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs)-embedded in fluorinated rubber, and iii) the formation of a cellulation structure. This rubber nanocomposite with a cellulation structure and having extreme performance leads to a balanced pressure resistance, sealing ability, thermal resistance, and durability, which can contribute to doubling the current average global oil recovery efficiency.