New coatings to deliver longer-life seated ball valves for critical minerals processing
Advancing hydrometallurgy production
The critical minerals industry could soon have access to longer-life seated ball valves thanks to a $585,000 research collaboration between the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), Callidus Welding Solutions (CWS) and the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) at Deakin University.
The valves, which are manufactured from high-performance alloys and can cost upwards of $250,000 each, play a key role in the hydrometallurgy production of critical minerals like nickel, cobalt, and gold, and are exposed to significant wear and tear as a result of the high temperature, high pressure, corrosive and erosive environment contained within.
To extend component life and increase reliability, the valves are coated with a thermal spray ceramic. Despite being erosion-resistant, these standard coatings are porous, allowing the corrosive media to penetrate. Over time, the underlying valve surface will corrode, and the conventional ceramic coating will spall. The loss of coating results in loss of valve performance and can bring production to a halt. To create a longer-life product and increase efficiency, CWS and Deakin have developed a novel coating system that fuses the coating onto the dominant surface alloy of the valve, in this instance, titanium