Advanced Materials in Hydrocarbon Production
Section Head: Dr. Ning Liu

An advanced material (AM) has engineered properties — existing materials are modified to achieve better performance under various conditions, or new materials are created. Both new and modified materials must be an improvement over those they are replacing. Titanium and carbon fiber are two examples of advanced materials. Kevlar® is another.

Nanotechnology and nanomaterials are important components of AM research.

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or about the width of 10 hydrogen atoms arranged side-by-side in a line. Nanotechnology involves iaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this size-scale. At the nanoscale, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials can differ in fundamental and useful ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules or bulk matter. Nanotechnology R&D is directed toward understanding and creating improved materials, devices, and systems that exploit these new properties. (National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, 2004)

Advanced materials, including nanotechnology, represent a new frontier in hydrocarbon recovery technologies. As more and more high-pressure, high-temperature reservoirs are developed, researchers are challenged to develop ever more complicated solutions to industry needs. Coatings, composites, and injectables are being developed for drilling, exploration, and production needs, but the road to commercial application is long, and frequently expensive. The work of the Advanced Materials Group in pursuing basic research in advanced materials and nanotechnology is important to the PRRC's mandate to support New Mexico's hydrocarbon producers.