Life Testing of Plastic Elastomer Materials for Use in Underwater Environments

Photo of Jonathan Chen, Allan Ivey, Kristin Schmidt Students: Jonathan Chen, Allan Ivey, Kristin Schmidt

Sponsor: Petroleum Geo-Services

Date: Spring 2010

Requirements:
The team must validate the accelerated life testing procedure that was performed by Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS). In addition, the team must create reliable and repeatable mechanical property testing procedures. Numerical modeling must be performed with the Weibull++ and ALTA programs. These are programs specifically made for life testing analysis and are standard for PGS material testing.

Problem:
The objective of this project is to validate a twenty year life cycle of polyurethane for use on the ocean floor through accelerated life analysis, material testing, and numerical modeling.

Solution:
Numerical models yielded expected life values that ranged from instant failure to infinity. The team discovered that the polyurethane experienced a rapid degradation in the first week of testing due to water retention by the material. This sudden degradation was the main cause of the variance in results. Although the cause of the sudden failure was determined, PGS will need to continue to perform tests on polyurethane. The team developed improvements to PGS's accelerated life testing procedure in order to allow future testing to yield more accurate results.

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