Harsh environment optical fibers are designed for use at elevated temperatures and pressures in aggressive chemical environments. Typical applications include the oil & gas and geothermal industries, where the fibers are used for real-time downhole temperature and pressure measurements, data transmission, acoustic, seismic and imaging applications. AFL's Verrillon® harsh environment fibers are manufactured with a wide range of polymeric coatings including Polyimide, Silicone, Silicone-PFA and High Temperature Acrylates. In addition, our Verrillon optical fibers are available with a hermetic coating that prevents hydrogen, moisture and acid ingression. The fibers are suitable for operation over a wide range of temperatures up to 300ºC, depending on the coating combination selected. They are also available in a variety of different waveguide designs, including Multimode, Single-mode, Pure Silica Core, Bend-Insensitive and custom profiles.
As the global demand for oil and gas increases, fiber optic sensing technologies have become crucial for oil recovery and reservoir optimization. This high demand spurred numerous distributed monitoring techniques to measure various well parameters such as temperature, pressure, strain, flow, seismic and acoustic waves. With the development of these emerging monitoring technologies, the need for optical fibers and cables that withstand high temperatures (up to 300ºC) and high partial pressures of hydrogen in downhole environments increased dramatically. For example, steam injected wells using techniques such as SAGD or CSS require robust fiber optic sensing systems that can survive the heat, steam, hydrogen ingression and water permeation. This field of high temperature, hydrogen-rich environments has been the focus of AFL in recent years.
Although the carbon technology is extremely reliable for the mid-temperature range, its effectiveness diminishes at temperatures higher than 200ºC in hydrogen-rich conditions. Therefore, the need for another protection strategy became necessary. Our approach to the high temperature, high hydrogen partial pressures is to make the glass of the optical fiber inherently resistant to hydrogen attack, without the need of external protection. This research culminated in the VHM5000 Series of fibers is immune to hydrogen-induced loss. The Verrillon VHM5000 technology is the result of a uniquely optimized glass design that is exclusively available from AFL.
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