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Monel and Inconel: Oil Rigs Thriving Under Pressure

July 8, 2013

The Monel and Inconel families of metal alloys are two of the most versatile sets of materials available for use in high-temperature or high-pressure applications.  Monel consists of a variety of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel and copper, with some iron and other trace elements. Inconel (or “inco”) is a group of austenitic nickel-chromium-based super alloys. And each has its place in the world of advanced metal manufacturing.

Monel got its start a century ago in such mundane uses as identification tags for American soldiers and the roofing of the old Penn Station in New York City; but as its corrosion-resistance properties became more apparent, varieties of Monel were of increasing demand in areas such as marine and aeronautic equipment and even musical instruments. By the 1960s, designers of offshore-drilling platforms began to use non-magnetic Monel alloys in special underwater equipment, such as drill collars for surveying oil wells, especially in directional drilling operations.

To give you a sense of the size and proportion of some of the large scale oil rig platforms.  Here’s a short video of some of Norway’s off-shore oil pumping stations.

It takes large amounts of steel, Monel and other types of steel to fabricate these super structures.  They must withstand the elements such as water, salt, temperature changes, high waves, and other factors such as possible accidents with ocean vessels.

Inconel also became a prized material for making components of offshore drilling rigs, such as well pump and wellhead parts. Today, exotic uses of Inconel alloys include such things as exhaust pipes for ultra-performance sports cars.

Both Monel and Inconel are extremely hard to shape and machine using traditional techniques due to rapid work hardening. Manufacturing materials for industries such as aerospace and marine equipment using Monel and Inconel involves demanding metallurgic processes. To insure that your mission-critical components are built to high-quality standards using these unique alloys requires a technically competent specialty metal supplier. Several types of Monel and Inconel are available, such as Monel 400, Monel K500, Inconel 600, 601, 617, 625, 800, and 825.  We hope that you will trust us to be yours.


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