330-hour, 10,000 psi test of a washpipe assembly


On July 26, 2018 Kalsi Engineering announced a collaborative effort with Packard International, Inc. to provide high pressure washpipe assemblies to the oilfield drilling industry. On May 6, 2019 we announced the completion of a 320-hour test of a  pair of 4.5” Kalsi Seals at 9,500 to 9,800 psi and 120 rpm. Now we are pleased to announce that we have achieved a 330-hour, 10,000 psi test goal with a complete three-inch washpipe assembly that is manufactured by Packard International based on our high pressure seal technology. Half of the 10,000 psi washpipe test was performed at 120 rpm, and half was performed at 150 rpm.

The washpipe assembly has two rotary seals, one for pressure retention and the other for partitioning the pressurized fluid from the seal lubricant. The pressure retaining seal is a super-wide plastic lined seal, and the partitioning seal is a spring-loaded KLS seal. Both rotary seals incorporate patented hydrodynamic waves that pump a thin film of lubricant into the dynamic sealing interface during rotation to reduce friction, wear, and seal-generated heat. The high pressure seal is mounted in a floating backup ring that moves laterally to accommodate shaft misalignment and runout, which allows a very small extrusion gap clearance to be used. The partitioning seal is mounted in a laterally floating seal carrier than isolates the seal from runout-related compression changes.

The test fluid was antifreeze pressurized with a piston pump. A moderate amount of cooling was provided to the washpipe by circulating low pressure water through a stationary U-shaped tube located in center region of the washpipe. The coolant circulation rate was about 8 gallons per minute.

We have not disassembled the washpipe assembly yet to evaluate seal condition, because we are continuing the testing at 175 rpm. The antifreeze temperature near the high-pressure seal has been approximately 103°F at 120 rpm, 110°F at 150 rpm, and 115°F at 175 rpm. The things we can monitor indicate the washpipe assembly continues to run well. The temperature and hydrodynamic pumping related leak rate remain consistent.

We plan to test the three-inch bore washpipe against a pressurized drilling fluid once the current test is complete.

Dr. Kalsi (President of Kalsi Engineering) and Aaron Richie (Senior Consultant) celebrate reaching the goal of 330-hours of washpipe operation at 10,000 psi. The washpipe test fixture is shown in the background.