Every so often, an individual will need to construct a structure in an aquatic environment. A good example of this is the construction of an offshore oil rig that is used to drill for oil from the sea bed. When undertaking such a construction project, simply putting the rig together and hoping for the best […]

Every so often, an individual will need to construct a structure in an aquatic environment. A good example of this is the construction of an offshore oil rig that is used to drill for oil from the sea bed. When undertaking such a construction project, simply putting the rig together and hoping for the best is not a good way to approach it. It’s wise to consider everything that will affect the oil rig, and then make sure that the construction is done in such a manner that all these things will be kept in mind. This is especially so when you are trying to make decisions regarding the types of fasteners you will use for the project. Some of these include:

The weight of the structure
Typically, the basic structure of an oil rig is usually very heavy. Sometimes, one will also need to use additional items on the oil rig, further increasing the weight of the entire structure. For instance, it might incorporate a helipad and several heavy duty pumps and generators to keep the entire structure running. When you think about it this way, it’s easy to see that such structures can easily weigh in excess of several tons.

 
It is the fasteners that usually bear most of this weight, since they transmit it from one beam to the next. This means that when you are picking the fasteners to use for the project, you should choose ones that are meant to withstand this much weight. A good example of these are the Hastelloy C276 hex nuts.
The abrasion
In addition to that, you also need to keep in mind that the structures that are out in the sea are usually subjected to a lot of abrasion. Especially when the seas are rough, the seawater may be mixed with particle of sand and other items. When this is smashed against the oil rig at high speed, it has the potential to keep scratching and abrading the surface of the structure.
Using fasteners such as the Inconel Hex head cap screws is the only way to ensure that this does not become a major problem. Such fasteners are designed in such a manner as to be resistant to most form of abrasion, which means that they will last long in such an environment.
The corrosion
It is common knowledge that water that is saline in nature has the highest potential of causing corrosion of metals. This is especially so in the tropics, where the temperatures are very high which means that the rates of chemical reaction are also high. For this reason, whenever you are building a rig that is to be used offshore, you should always insist on making sure that it’s designed to withstand this. Using iron is definitely a bad idea, since it will be eaten away in a matter of days. Remember, the presence of any rust on an oil rig is a bad thing, since it creates a point of vulnerability around which the whole structure can collapse.

About the Author

Larry Melone
By Larry Melone
President

Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.

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