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What is PCD?
Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD) is diamond grit that has been fused together under high-pressure, high-temperature conditions in the presence of a catalytic metal. The extreme hardness, wear resistance, and thermal conductivity of diamond make it an ideal material for bearings. Individual diamond crystals cleave quite easily when struck parallel to certain planes (the process used to facet diamond gemstones takes advantage of these relatively weak planes).What is PCD?
The PCD compacts used in our bearings are subjected to rigorous testing to ensure that they meet the needs of our customers. Impact and tensile strength, abrasion resistance, and thermal stability are evaluated in our state-of-the-art testing facility. Field tests are also conducted to validate laboratory data. As a result, US Synthetic PCD compacts have gained a reputation, built and maintained over many years, for superior quality, durability, and performance.
To ensure that all bearings deliver the needed performance, US Synthetic subjects the PCD compacts to the following tests:
- Vertical Turret Lathe Testing - Abrasion, Thermal Stability
- Surface Drill Rig Testing - Abrasion, Impact, Thermal Stability
- Drop Testing - Impact
Vertical Turret Lathe Testing
Granite is machined at high speeds to load the cutter mechanically and thermally. Volume of rock removed is compared to the volume of diamond wear. From this test, a grinding ratio is calculated that allows the abrasion resistance of various PCD compacts to be compared.
Surface Drill Rig Testing
Test PCD compacts are brazed to a circa 3-inch diameter test bit. The drill rig advances the bit through various rocks at constant rates and the resulting torque and weight-on-bit are measured. PCD compacts are evaluated based on cutter damage and weight-on-bit comparisons.
In this test, a PCD edge is struck with a hardened steel strike plate and the PCD damage is evaluated. This test emulates the type of loading that might be experienced when a bearing is subjected to lateral and/or axial vibrations.
Staff and facilities
US Synthetic Bearings is a business division of US Synthetic Corp.
US Synthetic Corp. has a dedicated group of experienced scientists, engineers, and technicians that help drive US Synthetic Bearings' efforts to perfect and enhance our existing diamond solutions—and develop innovative new technology and designs for the future.
Five PhD scientists with more than 50 years of combined diamond research experience lead our diamond research and development efforts. A staff of experienced engineers and technicians work to continuously design, evaluate, and test new products.
All of these experienced professionals work in state-of-the-art research and testing facilities. This includes a full metallurgical lab, an advanced computer-aided design center, and a sophisticated testing lab. These facilities allow the scientists and engineers at USS Bearings to:
- Create and optimize new cutter designs using the latest solid modeling software.
- Model and analyze the thermal and mechanical performance of PCD cutters under simulated drilling conditions using finite element analysis tools.
- Quickly build prototype cutters in a dedicated R&D environment.
- Evaluate cutters using scanning acoustic microscopy (C-SAM), optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and metallurgical analysis.
- Monitor and improve cutter performance with abrasion, impact resistance, and vertical turret lathe (VTL) testing.