A uranium ore processing facility needed to pump raw material in the form of slurry through its plant.
The slurry, crushed uranium ore mixed with reactive chemicals, is both highly abrasive and corrosive, causing metal components in contact with the slurry to erode and wear extremely quickly.
Figure 1 shows the interior of a centrifugal pump after only five days in contact with the slurry. This image demonstrates the corrosive nature of the slurry, as the vane of this particular impeller has been eroded to the point that it is no longer capable of effective pumping.
In consultation with Global Pumps, the pump was replaced – with exactly the same model. The difference was that the replacement had had its interior metal surfaces coated with an elastomeric compound designed to withstand corrosive and abrasive process fluids. In this instance, the both the impeller and the pump casing were coated with MetalLine 785 elastomeric coating as a protectant against the slurry.
Surprisingly, after 10 weeks of service no failures had occurred and the pump was inspected during routine maintenance.
Figure 2 shows the interior impeller surface at this point – after 10 weeks of continuous service. Compare the completely intact elastomer and impeller with Figure 1, an equivalent impeller that had been in direct contact with the slurry for only five days.
MetalLine elastomeric coating has made a significant difference to the durability of the pump's interior components. In this case the pump with the coating had already lasted twelve times longer than the original uncoated pump.
The images show as a result of applying MetalLine's elastomeric coating there has been no discernible wear on either the coating nor the underlying integral metal of the pump.
This pump was put back into service following the inspection for further duty.