Degradable Materials Simplify Well Completions in Oil & Gas Extraction

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.

Original content can be found on Parker’s Website and was written by members of the O-Ring & Engineered Seals Division. Jacob Ballard – research and development engineer, Jason Fairbanks – market manager, and Nathaniel Sowder – business development engineer.


degradable materials for offshore drillingThe emergence of degradable and dissolvable materials is providing oilfield service companies an opportunity to increase efficiencies and cut costs in the oilfield by simplifying well completions. These materials replace their conventional metallic and polymeric counterparts in completion tools, but eventually break down and disperse when exposed to common completion fluids. This eliminates the need for well interventions to mill out or retrieve used tools. This can result in a reduction of drill time, a safer work environment, and monetary savings for the operator. Parker Hannifin produces dissolvable and degradable metal alloys, thermoplastics, and elastomeric materials that can enhance your well completions.

Degradable Elastomers

Parker O-Ring and Engineered Seals (OES) Division produces degradable elastomer formulations that can be used in frac plugs, liner wipers, and other sealing applications common in the completions segment. These elastomer formulas have tough physical properties and low compression set and are designed to replace materials such as Nitrile or HNBR in conventional tool designs. With proper design, tools using Parker degradable elastomer can withstand the high pressures (>8,000 psi) generated during hydraulic fracturing while still eventually deteriorating away, allowing well production without having to be drilled out. These degradable elastomers can be produced in a variety of desired forms such as O-rings, custom molded shapes, and packing elements. They can also be bonded to dissolvable metal alloys to produce completely degradable solutions. If needed, Parker offers a product engineering team to assist with the design of components and rapid prototyping services to help cut down on development timelines.

Degradable Thermoplastics

Parker Engineered Polymer Systems (EPS) Division manufactures engineered degradable Thermoplastic materials which can be used in many types of completion tools that traditionally use non-degradable elastomers. Parker EPS’s high-grade thermoplastic materials have increased physical properties over conventional elastomers making it ideal for both high pressure/high temperature and wear resistant applications. The increased physical properties of EPS thermoplastics provide enhanced resistance to extrusion, temperature and wear over most degradable non-metallics in the market. These unique thermoplastic materials may be manufactured in both homogenous as well as bonded components such as Packers, Parker back-up rings, Frac Plugs and liner wipers and are ideal for hot trouble well applications.

With a wide range of wellbore temperatures and completion fluids seen across the industry, selecting the right degradable compound can be complicated. Gallagher Fluid Seals, in coordination with Parker, can help assist in recommending the proper paramaters for using degradable elastomers.


Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor of Parker. To learn more about how Gallagher Fluid Seals can help you, contact our engineering department at 1-800-822-4063