Title:
Intermetallic Aluminide Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) Cutting Elements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Machining and cutting tools including, but not limited to, rotary drill bits, mining tools, milling tools, wood shredders, reamers and wire dies formed with at least one substrate having a layer of polycrystalline diamond disposed thereon. The polycrystalline diamond layer may be generally described as a polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) or PDC layer. The PDC may be formed by using an intermetallic aluminide catalyst. One example of such catalyst may include nickel aluminide used to form diamond to diamond bonds between adjacent diamond particles.



Inventors:
King, William W. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/522360
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
01/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
51/307, 175/425, 175/428, 51/296
International Classes:
E21B10/567; B24D3/00; E21B10/46; E21B10/54
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GAY, JENNIFER HAWKINS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Baker Botts L.L.P. (98 San Jacinto Blvd Suite 1500, Austin, TX, 78701, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cutting element comprising: a substrate having at least one layer of a polycrystalline diamond compact disposed thereon; and the polycrystalline diamond compact formed in part by using an intermetallic aluminide as a catalyst to form diamond to diamond bonds between adjacent diamond particles.

2. The cutting element of claim 1 wherein the intermetallic aluminide further comprises nickel aluminide.

3. The cutting element of claim 1 further comprising the intermetallic aluminide selected from the group consisting of iron aluminide, cobalt aluminide, titanium aluminide, nickel-platinum aluminide, nickel-titanium aluminide, niobium aluminide, ruthenium aluminide, scandium aluminide, and zirconium aluminide.

4. The cutting element of claim 1 further comprising an insert for a fixed cutter rotary drill bit.

5. The cutting element of claim 1 further comprising a portion of a downhole tool selected from the group consisting of a rotary drill bit, reamer, near bit reamer, hole opener and coring bit.

6. The cutting element of claim 1 further comprising at least one portion of a tool selected from the group consisting of a mining tool, a machining tool used to cut ferrous materials, a machining tool used to cut non-ferrous materials, a machining tool used to process wood and other fibrous materials and a saw blade used to cut rocks such as limestone and granite, concrete, cermets and other hard materials.

7. The cutting element of claim 1 further comprising: the substrate having a first end; and the at least one layer of the polycrystalline diamond compact disposed on the first end of the substrate.

8. The cutting element of claim 7 further comprising a layer of intermetallic aluminide disposed between the first end of the substrate and the at least one layer of the polycrystalline diamond compact.

9. The cutting element of claim 7 further comprising the intermetallic aluminide used to form the layer of polycrystalline diamond compact selected from the group consisting of iron aluminide, cobalt aluminide, titanium aluminide, nickel-platinum aluminide, nickel-titanium aluminide, niobium aluminide, ruthenium aluminide, scandium aluminide, and zirconium aluminide.

10. The cutting element of claim 7 further comprising: a plurality of void spaces formed between adjacent diamond particles bonded with each other by diamond to diamond bonds; and the intermetallic aluminide disposed within the void spaces formed between adjacent diamond particles.

11. A rotary drill bit operable to form a wellbore in a downhole formation comprising: a bit body having one end operable for connection to a drill string; a plurality of cutting elements disposed on exterior portions of the bit body; the cutting elements defined in part by a respective substrate and a respective layer of hard cutting material disposed on one end of the respective substrate; and the layer of hard cutting material including a polycrystalline diamond compact formed at least in part by using an intermetallic aluminide catalyst.

12. The drill bit of claim 11 further comprising at least one of the substrates having a generally circular cross section.

13. The drill bit of claim 11 further comprising at least one of the substrates having a generally noncircular cross section.

14. The drill bit of claim 11 further comprising: a bit face profile having an inverted cone shaped configuration opposite from the one end of the bit body; an opening formed in the bit body proximate the inverted cone shaped portion of the bit face profile; a substrate having a layer of a polycrystalline diamond compact formed in part by intermetallic aluminide catalyst; a post extending from the substrate; and the post disposed in the opening in the bit body with the layer of the polycrystalline compact operable to engage formation materials adjacent to the inverted cone shaped portion of the bit face profile.

15. The cutting element of claim 11 wherein the intermetallic aluminide further comprises nickel aluminide.

16. The drill bit of claim 11 further comprising the intermetallic aluminide selected from the group consisting of iron aluminide, cobalt aluminide, titanium aluminide, nickel-platinum aluminide, nickel-titanium aluminide, niobium aluminide, ruthenium aluminide, scandium aluminide, and zirconium aluminide.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/883,938, entitled “Intermetallic Aluminide Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) Cutting Elements,” filed Jan. 8, 2007.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure is related to rotary drill bits and associated cutting elements and more particularly to fixed cutter drill bits and associated cutting elements and/or inserts with hard layers of cutting material disposed on at least one portion of the cutting elements and/or inserts.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

Polycrystalline Diamond compositions were originally developed by General Electric. An early reference to manufacture of these composites in an ultra high pressure press is U.S. Pat. No. 3,141,746 to De Lai. In this reference De Lai describes a family of metals that may be used to provide a catalyst for diamond to diamond bonding in the manufacture of a polycrystalline diamond composite (sometimes referred to as a “polycrystalline diamond compact”) (PDC). The metal catalysts included by De Lai are iron, cobalt, nickel, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, platinum, titanium, chromium, manganese, and tantalum. General Electric continued to test various metal catalyst combinations throughout the 1960's and 1970's as is evident in the literature of PDC development. Nickel, aluminum, and alloys thereof have been used as binder catalysts for cubic boron nitride (CBN) compacts and PDC.

In the mid 1980's new intermetallic materials, including nickel aluminide (Ni3Al) began to find commercial application. Prior to the mid 1980's nickel aluminide was often considered as having little commercial value due to inherent brittleness and less than desired hardness. The addition of approximately 1% boron during production of intermetallic nickel aluminide (INA) made it stronger or harder and more ductile while at the same time maintaining high heat transfer capability. A key patent in this area is to Huang et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,478,791.

Recent developments of Intermetallic Bonded Diamond (IBD) by Wittmer and Filip as described in US Patent Application Publication 2006/0280638 published on Dec. 14, 2006 and International Publication Number WO 2006/107628 published by WIPO on Oct. 12, 2006 disclose the use of nickel aluminide as a binder material during production of Intermetallic Bonded Diamond (IBD). Two further publications “Final Technical Report Mar. 1, 2004 through Dec. 31, 2004” and “Final Technical Report Jan. 1, 2005 through Sep. 30, 2005” for the project titled “Intermetallic-Bonded Diamond Tools for Coal Mining” further describe their work and observations.

Wittmer and Filip use various methods to produce IBD composites including: heating in a furnace with continuous flowing argon, vacuum/pressure sintering, and hot isostatic pressing. Hot isostatic pressing is well known in the art and is the process often used to make impregnated diamond segments for rotary drill bits and other downhole tools. Typically such segments may include a copper/nickel binder to bind a mixture of tungsten carbide powder and small diamond particles. It is important to note that IBD composites developed by Wittmer and Filip do not involve diamond to diamond bonding but rather form metallic binder with diamond particles disposed therein.

Wittmer and Filip have identified several advantages to their IBD composites. These composites appear to be more resistant to thermal degradation than composites that use copper/nickel alloys or other metals as a binder. In addition it appears that the use of nickel aluminide may retard the tendency of diamond to graphitize at higher temperatures where diamond graphitization typically occurs with copper/nickel binders.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

One aspect of the present disclosure may include ultra high pressure manufacturing of polycrystalline diamond composite (PDC) using an intermetallic aluminide as a catalyst and forming cutting elements or inserts with PDC's resulting from this process. For example, PDC's formed at least in part by using an intermetallic aluminide as a catalyst may be attached to a substrate to produce PDC cutters for rotary drill bits.

PDC cutters incorporating teachings of the present disclosure may benefit from high heat transfer capabilities of intermetallic aluminide as compared to prior catalysts such as cobalt used to form PDC's. High heat transfer may mitigate possible effects of differences between respective coefficients of expansion of intermetallic aluminide and diamond. Heat transfer capabilities of an intermetallic aluminide may act synergistically with the diamond crystals of such PDC's to rapidly dissipate heat generated by friction at the cutting tip or cutting surface.

PDC cutters incorporating teachings of the present disclosure may benefit from an intermetallic aluminide's ability to retard diamond graphitization at higher than typical temperatures and in the presence of a ferrous work piece. Historically cubic boron nitride cutters have been used to machine ferrous materials due to the well known ineffectiveness of diamond in this application. Cubic boron nitride is generally not as hard and wear resistant as diamond but is superior to diamond in ferrous machining applications. The capabilities of PDC cutters manufactured using an intermetallic aluminide as a catalyst may overcome the historic inapplicability of a PDC to satisfactorily machine ferrous materials and may offer a superior alternative to cutters made from cubic boron nitride.

IBD composites using nickel aluminide may be capable of cutting ferrous material, such as gray cast iron, over long periods of time with very little wear of cutting surfaces formed with such IBD composites. It has always been a given in machining ferrous materials that diamond reacts chemically with ferrous material and breaks down or graphitizes quickly at a frictional interface between the diamond cutting element and the ferrous material. This has been the case with cutting surfaces formed with natural diamond, synthetic diamond, impregnated diamond and PDC. Apparently IBD composites made with nickel aluminide may not experience such break down of cutting surfaces or graphitization of associated diamond. Apparently thermal and/or chemical processes that break down diamond during ferrous cutting applications may be significantly retarded by using nickel aluminide as a binder material to form a PDC.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete and thorough understanding of the present embodiments and advantages thereof may be acquired by referring to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers indicate like features, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing showing one example of an aluminide PDC cutting element or cutter incorporating teachings of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing in section showing another example of an aluminide PDC cutting element or cutter incorporating teachings of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing in section with portions broken away showing a layer of hard cutting material formed from diamond pellets using an intermetallic aluminide catalyst.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

Preferred embodiments of the present disclosure and various advantages may be understood by referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 of the drawings. Like numerals may be used for like and corresponding parts in the various drawings.

The terms “rotary drill bit” and “rotary drill bits” may be used in this application to include various types of roller cone drill bits, rotary cone drill bits, fixed cutter drill bits, drag bits, matrix drill bits and PDC drill bits operable to form a wellbore extending through one or more downhole formations. Rotary drill bits and associated components formed in accordance with teachings of the present disclosure may have many different designs and configurations. Cutting elements and blades incorporating features of the present disclosure may also be used with reamers, near bit reamers, and other downhole tools associated with forming a wellbore.

The terms “cutting element” and “cutting elements” may be used in this application to include various types of compacts, cutters and/or inserts satisfactory for use with a wide variety of rotary drill bits. The term “cutter” may include, but is not limited to, face cutters, gage cutters, inner cutters, shoulder cutters, active gage cutters and passive gage cutters.

Polycrystalline diamond compacts (PDC), PDC cutters and PDC inserts are often used as cutting elements for rotary drill bits. Polycrystalline diamond compacts may also be referred to as PDC compacts.

For some applications cutting elements formed in accordance with teachings of the present disclosure may include one or more polycrystalline diamond layers formed on a substrate by using an intermetallic aluminide catalyst. Such layers may sometimes be referred to as “cutting layers” or “tables”. Cutting layers may be formed with a wide variety of configurations, shapes and dimensions in accordance with teachings of the present disclosure. Examples of such configurations and shapes may include, but are not limited to, “cutting surfaces”, “cutting edges”, “cutting faces” and “cutting sides”.

The terms “cutting structure” and “cutting structures” may be used in this application to include various combinations and arrangements of cutting elements, cutters, face cutters, gage cutters, impact arrestors, protectors, blades and/or other portions of rotary drill bits, coring bits, reamers and other downhole tools used to form a wellbore. Some fixed cutter drill bits may include one or more blades extending from an associated bit body. Cutting elements are often arranged in rows on exterior portions of a blade or other exterior portions of a bit body associated with fixed cutter drill bits. Various configurations of blades and cutters may be used to form cutting structures for a fixed cutter drill bit in accordance with teachings of the present disclosure.

One embodiment of the present disclosure may include using nickel aluminide as a catalyst during production of PDC cutters. Nickel aluminide is not a typical alloy of nickel and aluminum, rather nickel aluminide is a well ordered crystalline compound expressed as Ni3Al. It is one of an emerging materials family of intermetallic aluminides that also includes iron aluminide, cobalt aluminide, titanium aluminide, nickel-platinum aluminide, nickel-titanium aluminide, niobium aluminide, ruthenium aluminide, scandium aluminide, and zirconium aluminide. The process may involve loading a cell with a WC substrate inclusive of a small percent (2% to 15%) of cobalt and covering one end or one portion of the substrate with a mixture of intermetallic nickel aluminide powder and diamond particles of a size range between approximately 3 microns to 60 microns. A size range of 5 microns and 25 microns of diamond particles may be preferred for some applications.

Resulting PDC's may have a diamond volume percent between approximately 50% and 95% of the total volume of each PDC. A diamond volume percent between approximately 75% and 92% may be preferred for some applications. A substrate with a mixture of diamond particles and an intermetallic aluminide may be placed in a conventional container associated with manufacture of PDC cutters. The loaded cell may then be placed into an ultra high pressure press and brought up to pressures and temperatures for time periods as are well known in the art and described at length in the literature. The result may be a PDC cutter better suited to high temperature applications and/or to ferrous machining applications than prior art PDC cutters.

FIG. 1 shows a cutting element which includes a substrate with a PDC layer disposed on one end thereof. The PDC layer may be found using an intermetallic aluminide catalyst as previously described.

For some applications a wafer of intermetallic nickel aluminide may be placed between one end of a substrate and powder mixture of intermetallic nickel aluminide and diamond particles. This wafer may act as a barrier to large scale migration of cobalt from the substrate into the PDC during the pressing cycle. If too much cobalt enters into the PDC during the process then advantages obtained through the use of an intermetallic aluminide catalyst may be reduced.

FIG. 2 shows a cutting element which includes a layer or wafer of intermetallic aluminide disposed between one end of a substrate and an associate PDC layer. The PDC layer may be formed using an intermetallic aluminide as previously described. The substrates shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 may be formed from a wide variety of materials including, but not limited to, tungsten carbide (WC).

PDC cutters made using the teachings of the present disclosure are especially applicable to rock drilling tools, down hole drilling and reaming tools, mining tools, ferrous and non-ferrous machining tools, wire dies, wood processing, and diamond saw blades for rock quarrying.

Although the present disclosure and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alternations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the following claims.